Land, water and contamination

Transport for NSW is committed to identifying, assessing and managing potential surface water, groundwater and land impacts of our activities and assets in accordance with legislation including the:

  • Contaminated Land Management Act 1997
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
  • Water Management Act 2000
  • Fisheries Management Act 1994

and Transport for NSW policies and strategies.

Soil and water quality

Soil and water quality have to be managed during Transport for NSW infrastructure construction and maintenance activities to prevent environmental pollution. 

Transport for NSW must identify and manage acid sulfate soil and rock during construction to prevent potential pollution events and to make sure that structural damage does not occur due to the presence of acidic runoff.

We must also consider the environmental condition of land, and identify potentially-contaminated sites in the purchase, use and sale of land. 

Water quality management 

Water quality management for road construction and the operation of the state road network is an environmental responsibility for Transport for NSW.

Managing erosion and sediment during construction works prevent waterway pollution. Design and construction of appropriate water quality treatment methods ensures the long-term preservation of sensitive aquatic environments that receive runoff.

Assessment and management of water quality is incorporated in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the Transport for NSW network. Works will use the most appropriate water management practices in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the roads and traffic system in order to: conserve water; protect the quality of water resources; and preserve ecosystems.

Alternative flocculants and coagulants

Transport for NSW requires the completion of the Alternative Flocculants and Coagulants (template to propose use) (DOCX, 152.2 KB) for all projects that propose the use of flocculants and coagulants other than gypsum in both construction sediment basins and construction water treatment plants.

All sections of the template must be addressed according to site-specific conditions. 

Erosion and sedimentation control - managing construction stormwater 

Many transport construction projects expose large areas of soil or create substantial earthworks. These are prone to erosion and the environment can be impacted by the release of sediment in stormwater.

Managing and avoiding erosion and sedimentation is a major focus for Transport for NSW and our contractors during construction. For more information, you can read our  Erosion and Sedimentation Management Procedure

Managing Urban Stormwater - Soils and Construction, Volume 2D: Main road construction 

The construction of transport infrastructure including main roads and highways commonly involves extensive earthworks with significant potential for erosion and sedimentation of surrounding waterways and the landscape.

Guideline for batter surface stabilisation using vegetation 

Transport for NSW construction and maintenance activities can expose batters, putting them at risk of erosion. This can have undesirable aesthetic and environmental impacts, and in extreme cases can compromise the stability of the road or rail formation. 

Batters can be stabilised using two broad methods – geotechnical/engineering methods and surface stabilisation using vegetation. Transport for NSW has developed the  Guideline for Batter Surface Stabilisation using vegetation (PDF, 6.64 MB)

The guideline includes practical information to apply to site-specific conditions, decision support tools, and a series of fact sheets to assist construction and maintenance projects to achieve good batter stabilisation outcomes using vegetation. 

For further information email

Acid sulfate material management 

Acid sulfate materials are naturally occurring acidic soils, sediments and rock. They contain sulfides which, if exposed to air, can form sulfuric acid. Although acid sulfate soils are concentrated in coastal environments, there is potential for acid sulfate rock to have widespread distribution in the landscape.

If disturbed, all forms of Acid Sulfate Materials can cause unacceptable environmental impacts including fish kills, habitat destruction, loss of agricultural productivity, geotechnical instability and corrosion of concrete and steel structures. 

Transport for NSW Guidelines for the Management of Acid Sulfate Materials (PDF, 1.21 MB) provides procedures for the environmental impact assessment, identification, investigation and management of acid sulfate materials. This guideline is for use by Transport for NSW personnel, project consultants and contractors. 


The New South Wales Pesticides Regulation 1995 requires public authorities such as TfNSW and local councils to prepare a Pesticide Use Notification Plan that outlines how they will notify the community of pesticide applications made to public places. TfNSW finalised the TfNSW Pesticide Use Notification Plan following a 4-week public exhibition period.

Contaminated land management 

The Transport for NSW Guideline for the Management of Contamination (PDF, 775.01 KB) forms the basis for how Transport for NSW assesses, investigates and manages contamination risks in the purchase, use and sale of all land. It ensures that Transport for NSW manages contaminated land in accordance with relevant contaminated land legislation and industry standard best management practices. 

As part of this commitment, contaminated land management is incorporated into the planning, design and operation of the Transport for NSW network.  

Documents and forms 

Erosion and Sedimentation Management Procedure 

Guideline for Construction Water Quality Monitoring (PDF, 57.14 KB) 

Guideline for the Management of Contamination (PDF, 775.01 KB) 

Guidelines for the Management of Acid Sulfate Materials (PDF, 1.21 MB) 

Technical Guideline: Environmental Management of Construction Site Dewatering (DOC, 164 KB) 

Technical Guideline: Temporary Stormwater Drainage for Road Construction (PDF, 4.08 MB) 

Environmental Direction: Management of Tannins from Vegetation Mulch (PDF, 1.01 MB) 

Guideline for the Management of Contamination (PDF, 775.01 KB)