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Who cleans up contaminated sites?

The CS Act establishes a hierarchy of responsibility for remediation which includes the ‘polluter pays’ principle. This means that in most cases the person who caused the site contamination is responsible for implementing and paying for the site assessment and any subsequent management, containment or clean-up of the site. This includes meeting the costs of and undertaking communication with the affected community. 

How are contaminated sites managed in the interests of public health?

DWER classifies sites in consultation with the Department of Health which has specific expertise in assessing public health risk from site contamination. 

Where do instances of site contamination mainly occur?

In the vast majority of cases, site contamination is associated with industrial and commercial activities.

Western Australia, like other urbanised cities in the world, is affected by site contamination issues that are the direct result of past practices including:

  • industrial sites such as gasworks and tanneries
  • fuel and chemical storage and associated spills and leaks
  • agricultural chemicals, herbicides and pesticides/termiticides
  • waste products such as ash (which were often buried) and asbestos containing materials

Contamination is often detected as a result of the site investigations associated with land use planning and development processes required as part of land development and applications for a new use for the land.