Virgin Excavated Natural Materials (VENM)

Virgin Excavated Natural Materials (VENM) Background

Virgin excavated natural material (VENM) is a waste that has been classified as general solid waste (non-putrescible) – one of the six categories of waste classification within NSW. Classification of material as VENM is beneficial as it is able to be re-used, sold and transported as VENM which has environmental and financial benefits.


What is VENM?

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 defines VENM as: “natural material (such as clay, gravel, sand, soil or rock fines):

    • that has been excavated or quarried from areas that are not contaminated with manufactured chemicals or process residues, as a result of industrial, commercial, mining or agricultural activities, and
    • that does not contain any sulfidic ores or soils or any other waste.”

Thus, by definition, VENM cannot be ‘made’ from processed soils. Excavated material that has been stored or processed in any way cannot be classified as VENM. In order to classify material as VENM, a chemical assessment must be conducted to determine that it is free of contaminants. However, in cases where excavated material cannot be classified as VENM, it may be able to be reused as Excavated Natural Material (ENM).



The classification of VENM is dictated by the following legislation:

  • Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act)
  • EPA’s Waste Classification Guidelines


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 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 commonly required for the classification of waste materials.

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

–       ADE’s Laboratory Services