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Groundwater contamination

There are many chemical substances that can affect the quality of groundwater. The impacts range from an unpleasant taste/odour to potential health hazards.

Often, groundwater contamination is a legacy of past practices and may not have been caused by the current site owner. Potentially contaminating industries, activities and land uses which can cause contamination are listed in DWER’s Assessment and management of contaminated sites guideline.

Many sites with groundwater contamination are under active management and pose no threat to neighbouring communities. 

Why does groundwater contamination seem more common? 

Since the commencement of the CS Act on 1 December 2006, land owners, occupiers and polluters must report known or suspected contaminated sites to DWER. Prior to this, there was no legal requirement to report contamination.

The CS Act has provided vital improvement to the protection of public health and the environment with DWER, in collaboration with DoH, now able to assess the risk of contamination to the public and the environment and ensure the responsible parties manage and clean up contaminated sites.