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Background

The Busselton Waste Facility on Rendezvous Road operated as a Class II landfill between the late 1960s and 2012—accepting mixed household and industrial waste. The facility is now a waste transfer station.  

Over time, the landfill decomposed, creating a liquid (known as leachate) which has impacted groundwater in the locality of Vasse.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)* classified the waste facility as possibly contaminated – investigation required under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 in July 2007.  

Investigations initially found ammonia and other substances in residential bore water at levels that did not exceed the relevant public health criteria.  

However, in October 2016, more detailed testing found contaminants in several residential bores. Residents at three properties were notified that contaminant levels in their bore water exceeded public health criteria for drinking water and, in some cases, garden irrigation.

In January 2017, DWER re-classified the waste facility as contaminated - remediation required.

The City of Busselton is required by DWER to take remedial action and carry out further investigations to identify whether additional properties’ bore water sources are affected. See the City of Busselton's website for information on the groundwater investigation and a map of the area involved.

Note: Water from household taps (scheme water) is not affected. 
Throughout Western Australia, the Department of Health (DoH) advises untested and untreated bore water should never be used for drinking, bathing or filling swimming pools and children should not play under bore water sprinklers. 

DoH advises anyone in Western Australia who uses a bore to water home grown fruit or vegetables to wash them with household tap water before they are eaten. See DoH's information on using bore water safely.

* The former Department of Environment Regulation amalgamated on 1 July 2017 with the Department of Water and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, forming the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

What is Happening Now?

The City of Busselton is providing residents of affected properties who rely on bore water, and are not connected to scheme water, with an alternative water supply.

The City of Busselton has also commenced construction of a water main along Rendezvous Road so that the land owners can connect their properties and access scheme water. Works are anticipated to be complete by the end of May 2018.

As required by DWER, the City's environmental consultant is implementing a program of further investigations and risk assessment to determine the extent of groundwater contamination. The program includes further testing of private water supplies (such as bores, wells, soaks and dams) and explaining results to residents.

The City has engaged an accredited contaminated sites auditor to oversee the planning and implementation of the investigation program. The auditor’s assessment of work carried out to January 2018 is detailed in a mandatory auditor's report which accompanied investigation reports submitted to DWER in February 2018. The investigations and auditor’s assessment are ongoing.

DWER is liaising with the City of Busselton and the auditor to ensure information is provided to affected residents, and action to investigate and manage the contamination is being taken as quickly as possible. 

More Information

See the City of Busselton's website for information on the groundwater investigation and a map of the area involved.

DWER will update this page as new information comes to hand. If you have queries or would like more information, call the Contaminated Sites Hotline on 1300 762 982.

Department of Health's information on using bore water safely.

DWER's fact sheet Contaminated groundwater—could my garden bore be affected?

 Updated 3 April 2017