Contaminated Land

Contaminated sites are areas that have been polluted by materials or agents in sufficient quantities to directly or indirectly present a risk to human health, the environment or environmental values.  Contaminants may be found in:

  • soil
  • sediment
  • surface water and groundwater.

Contamination may have arisen from a range of human activities and is most often associated with industrial and commercial operations.  Any property or land that has been contaminated needs to be properly assessed, classified and remediated or managed.

State Legislation

The Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (CS Act)  and the associated Contaminated Sites Regulations 2006 came into effect on 1 December 2006.

The CS Act provides a strong legal framework to report, investigate and manage contamination of land in Western Australia.

The Department of Environment Regulation, Contaminated Sites administers the CS Act.  Comprehensive information is available on the Department of Environment Regulation website (external link).  

The Department of Health, Environmental Health Directorate, provides advice on public health aspects, including public health assessments and site clean up to ensure that nearby communities and future tenants and owners are not exposed to unacceptable levels of contaminants. 

Naturally Occurring Materials

Land and water with naturally occurring materials or agents at levels that may present a risk to health are not captured by the CS Act.  Public Health assessment and management will be undertaken in accordance with the Public Health Act 2016.

Public Health Guidelines

The Department of Health has developed guidance and information material on the following topics:

  • Asbestos soil contamination - comprehensive reference material is available on a number of issues associated with the reporting, assessment and management of asbestos in soil.
  • Ground and surface water screening guidelines (PDF 155KB) - a document that covers the reporting, evaluation and management of chemicals in ground and surface water for suspected or known contaminated sites. This document should be used in conjunction with the CS Act and the associated Contaminated Sites Guidelines published by the Department of Environment Regulation.

Current issues

The following links provide further information on current issues in Western Australia associated with contaminated land or on emerging contaminants of concern.

More Information

For more information contact the Environmental Health Directorate