View all publications

2 Reference Documents Used

The documents listed in Table 1 have been used in the preparation of this guideline document.  This list was established from a survey of local authority staff and environmental consultants.  The US EPA soil screening guidance documents (US EPA, 1996a and b; US EPA, 2001) have been included, as the US EPA Regional screening levels currently used refer to these documents for the basis of their derivation of guideline values.  Documents detailing the derivation of soil guideline values currently being produced by the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency (EA) (DEFRA and EA, 2002, EA 2004; 2010) are also included because they represent robustly derived values that may be applicable in certain circumstances.

Many of these documents are frequently referred to by a common or abbreviated name (eg, Timber Treatment Guidelines), and this abbreviated name is also given in Table 1 (italicised and in square brackets). These documents are sorted according to the environmental medium for which they provide a guideline value. The full citation for each document is provided in the References list. Where available, an Internet reference for the document is provided.

Table 1: Reference documents used and included in the EGV database

Media Document
Soil Assessment of Risks to Human Health from Land Contamination: An overview of the development of soil guideline values and related research, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency (2002) [Soil Guideline Values]
Soil Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination, Contaminated Land Report 11. Bristol, UK: Environment Agency (2004)

Updated technical background to the CLEA model. Science Report – SC050021/SR3. Bristol, UK: Environment Agency (2010)


Ecological Soil Screening Level Guidance, US EPA (2003) [Eco-SSL]

Soil, groundwater

Soil Remediation Circular, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, Directorate-General For Environmental Protection (2009) [Dutch Guidelines]
Soil, groundwater* Guideline on the Investigation Levels for Soil and Groundwater, National Environmental Protection Council (1999) [Contaminated Sites NEPM]

Soil, groundwater

Soil Screening Guidance: Technical background document (US EPA, 1996a) and User's guide (US EPA, 1996b); Supplemental Guidancefor Developing Soil Screening Levels at Superfund Sites (US EPA, 2001) [US EPA SSG]

Soil, water

Identifying, Investigating and Managing Risks Associated with Former Sheep-dip Sites, Ministry for the Environment (2006) [Sheep-dip Guidelines]

Ministry for the Environment website

Soil, water

Guidelines for Assessing and Managing Petroleum Hydrocarbon Contaminated Sites in New Zealand (Revised 2011), Ministry for the Environment (1999) [Oil Industry Guidelines or Hydrocarbon Guidelines]

Ministry for the Environment website

Soil, water Guidelines for Assessing and Managing Contaminated Gasworks Sites in New Zealand, Ministry for the Environment (1997) [Gasworks Guidelines] Ministry for the Environment website
Soil, water Health and Environmental Guidelines for Selected Timber Treatment Chemicals, Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health (1997) [Timber Treatment Guidelines]

Ministry for the Environment website

Soil, tap water, air Regional screening levels, US EPA (see current version on website)

Soil, water, sediment, air, tissue residue Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines, CCME (see current version on website)1 [Canadian Guidelines]

Water Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, ANZECC and ARMCANZ (2000) [ANZECC Water Quality Guidelines]

Water Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005(Revised 2008), Ministry of Health

Sediment Incidence of adverse biological effects within ranges of chemical concentrations in marine and estuarine sediments,Environmental Management, 19(1): 81-97,Long et al (1995)

* Groundwater values provided are based on ANZECC (1992b), hence ANZECC/ARMCANZ (2000) Water Quality Guidelines are more relevant.

1 These documents are updated regularly; the year given is the latest update as at the time of preparation of this document (September 2011).

Not all documents available internationally are included in this document or the EGV database. Documents promulgated by overseas countries and jurisdictions have been omitted unless they are already commonly used in New Zealand, or they are particularly relevant. The US Department of Energy-sponsored Risk Assessment Information System (RAIS) is not discussed here, as extensive information on derivation methodologies and preliminary remediation goals for approximately 1400 contaminants (including radionuclides) can be accessed online at

Guideline values contained in the reference documents are referred to by different names and may be used differently. The names of the guideline values used in each document, their use and derivation are discussed further in section 3.

Environmental guideline values contained in the reference documents have been included in the EGV database, which is designed to provide users with a rapid and user-friendly way to access guideline values – with some exceptions. The surface and groundwater acceptance criteria provided in Ministry for the Environment 1997 and 1999 are not included in the EGV database, as for the most part they are based on outdated Canadian or Australian data (eg, Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters (ANZECC, 1992b)). Current New Zealand drinking water standards and guideline values for the protection of aquatic ecosystems from the Australian and New Zealand Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters (ANZECC and ARMCANZ, 2000) are included in the EGV database. The original documents should be referred to for the guideline values for other water uses (see also section 3.5).

Similarly, only the guideline values for soil, aquatic life, and community (equivalent to drinking water) established in the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines (CCME, 2002 and subsequent updates) are used in the EGV database.  Guideline values from the Lead Guidelines (Ministry of Health, 1998) have not been incorporated into the EGV database as this document establishes different concentrations of lead at which different actions should be taken, and includes a number of different scenarios and actions to be taken at each concentration.  Also, the document does not provide the scientific basis on which these values were determined.  Users are encouraged to refer to the document directly, which is available at the Ministry of Health’s website (

It is important that users of this guideline document, and of the EGV database, recognise that the guideline values contained in the database are only as up to date as the reference documents. Environmental guidelines are constantly being developed and reviewed, reflecting improvements in our understanding of the toxicity and risk posed by hazardous substances, and users should ensure that the guideline value they use is current.