Excavated Natural Materials (ENM)



In addition to the six general waste classification categories, there are also a number of exemptions which can be issued for materials that meet certain criteria. If these materials meet the conditions of the exemption, the materials can be re-instated within the designated land uses outlined within each exemption as opposed to being disposed of as waste.  For example, excavated natural material (ENM) is an exemption commonly requested by waste producers due to the financial benefits when tipping and/or the suitability of the materials to be re-used on site due to its uncontaminated nature.


What is Excavated Natural Material (ENM)


The NSW EPA defines ENM as: Naturally occurring rock and soil (including but not limited to materials such as sandstone, shale, clay and soil) that has:


a)      been excavated from the ground, and

b)      contains at least 98% (by weight) natural material, and

c)      does not meet the definition of VENM


ENM does not include material that has been processed, contains acid sulphate soils or potential acid sulphate soils.” In order to be classified as ENM, the sample must be chemically analysed and meet a rigorous criteria. Moreover, material can only be categorised as ENM if it is being used as general fill, engineered fill or landscaping material in earthworks projects.




The General Excavated Natural Material Exemption was first issued by the EPA in 2008 to facilitate the safe reuse of excavated materials as engineering fill or for earthworks. This was amended and updated with The Excavated Natural Material Exemption 2012 which was intended to make it easier for the industry to reuse rock and soil produced during bulk excavations while still protecting the environment. Both of these exemptions form part of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 – General Exemption Under Part 6, Clause 51 and 51A.


ADE Capabilities


ADE’s highly qualified and experienced environmental consultants undertake all components of field work, including developing cost effective sampling designs, undertaking all sampling procedures in accordance with the relevant sampling guidelines, including the classification of exemptions and sample handling requirements. Throughout the entire sampling process, all Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures are stringently followed, ensuring all samples collected produce accurate and reliable data outcomes.


Laboratory Analysis


ADE’s own in-house laboratory is NATA accredited for all methods required for the classification of Excavated Natural Materials (ENM).


For more information regarding ADE’s laboratory capabilities, refer to the link below:


–       ADE’s Laboratory Services