Environment

What is Environmental Health?


Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.

What is Environmental Health?


Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.

  • Air quality is something we often take for granted because, compared to other places in the world, our air is generally good.  That is why, when we experience excessive smoke or detect an odour, it’s so noticeable.  While we all have the potential to impact our neighbours from time to time, (e.g. smoke from a BBQ, odour from garden fertilizer), it is when excessive smoke or odours in the community occur that they can be a problem.  Health legislation is concerned with human health.  From time to time, Health Services receive complaints from residents

    Air quality is something we often take for granted because, compared to other places in the world, our air is generally good.  That is why, when we experience excessive smoke or detect an odour, it’s so noticeable.  While we all have the potential to impact our neighbours from time to time, (e.g. smoke from a BBQ, odour from garden fertilizer), it is when excessive smoke or odours in the community occur that they can be a problem.  Health legislation is concerned with human health.  From time to time, Health Services receive complaints from residents regarding dust settling on their cars or having to re-wash their laundry, which is hanging outdoors.   Although frustrating, these are not health issues.

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  • Pollution can take many forms and can negatively affect the air, soil and water quality.  Examples of pollution include:

    • Spills contaminating soil or water;
    • Black / dark smoke;
    • Odours and fumes; and
    • Noise

    The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is the leading body managing environmental pollution in Western Australia.  The Town’s Health Services have restricted powers in relation to Noise, unauthorised discharges from small-medium enterprises and dark smoke from domestic chimneys.


    Pollution can take many forms and can negatively affect the air, soil and water quality.  Examples of pollution include:

    • Spills contaminating soil or water;
    • Black / dark smoke;
    • Odours and fumes; and
    • Noise

    The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is the leading body managing environmental pollution in Western Australia.  The Town’s Health Services have restricted powers in relation to Noise, unauthorised discharges from small-medium enterprises and dark smoke from domestic chimneys.


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  • Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in the manufacture of building materials and other products.  Asbestos cement products were commonly manufactured in WA from 1921 to 1987.  In Australia, the use of asbestos was phased out in the manufacture of building products during the 1980’s, and completely banned in 2003. 

    The most common product used in residential properties was asbestos cement, which typically contained 10-15% asbestos.  Asbestos cement products pose little risk to health when they are in good condition and undisturbed.  However, homeowners must take precautions when removing the products,

    Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in the manufacture of building materials and other products.  Asbestos cement products were commonly manufactured in WA from 1921 to 1987.  In Australia, the use of asbestos was phased out in the manufacture of building products during the 1980’s, and completely banned in 2003. 

    The most common product used in residential properties was asbestos cement, which typically contained 10-15% asbestos.  Asbestos cement products pose little risk to health when they are in good condition and undisturbed.  However, homeowners must take precautions when removing the products, renovating or carrying out maintenance works.

    Where were asbestos products used in homes?

    Asbestos was added to building products to increase their strength durability, fire resistance and insulation properties.  It is commonly found in:

    • asbestos cement roofs and eaves
    • indoor and outdoor asbestos cement wall sheeting
    • external feature cladding materials
    • asbestos cement fencing
    • paper backing material on sheet linoleum
    • backing panels in meter boxes
    • textured paints – especially in wet areas
    • vinyl floor tiles
    • thermal insulation boards around fireplaces
    • gaskets and rope door seal in wood stoves
    • Carpet underlay

    Who Can Remove Asbestos

    The removal of more than 10 square metres of asbestos may only be carried out by persons whom have obtained an asbestos removal license.  Please refer to the Worksafe website for a list of restricted and unrestricted license holders. 

    The removal of less than 10 square meters of asbestos is not required to be carried out by a person holding an asbestos removal license.  However, compliance with legislation is still required.  The following document Asbestos – A Guide for Householders the General Public, produced by the Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth), provides useful information to enable householders to sensibly and safely manage the risks arising from any occasional encounter with asbestos materials in and around their homes.

    Asbestos Regulators

    There are a number of agencies and regulations that govern various aspects of Asbestos.  The following information can assist you in directing your query to the appropriate agency.

    Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

    Regulates and provides advice on the safe transport and disposal of asbestos materials.
    Phone: 6467 5359.  Visit the Department of Environmental Regulation

    Department of Health – Environmental Health Hazards Unit

    The Department of Health (DoH) regulates and provides advice on the safe handling of asbestos materials in both the public and residential sectors.  Guidance is also provided on the management of asbestos contaminated soil.  Phone: 9388 4999

    Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

    Regulates safe asbestos practices in the resources industry.  Phone: 9358 8079.  Visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website

    Local Government

    The Town of Bassendean Health Services enforce the Department of Health asbestos regulatory requirements and provide advice on local asbestos issues.

    Department of Commerce - NOW IN MINING - NEED TO AMALGATE INFO – WorkSafe

    WorkSafe:

    • regulates and audits all aspects of asbestos in workplaces;
    • licenses asbestos removalists;
    • conduct periodic audits of licensed persons.

    Phone: 1300 307 877   Email: safety@commerce.wa.gov.au  Visit the WorkSafe website

    Department of Education

    The Department of Education (DoE) manages asbestos issues in school buildings and other facilities under the control of the Department. 

    Phone: 9264 4111

    Housing Authority

    Manages asbestos issues associated with its properties. 

    Visit their Reporting Maintenance webpage

    Phone: 1300 137 677 (maintenance issues)

    Department of Finance – Building Management and Works

    Building Management and Works leads the planning and delivery of new government buildings, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, courts and police stations.  Phone: 6551 1000. 

     Visit Building Management and Works


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  • In partnership with the Department of Health, the Town’s Health Services collect water samples from Sandy Beach Reserve and Point Reserve to test for bacteria and amoeba levels.  These water samples are collected each year on a weekly basis, between November and April.   There are a number of water bodies monitored within WA.  For an extensive list, refer to the Department of Health website.

    The purpose of monitoring the water quality is to achieve the following:

    • make sure the water is safe to swim in and recreate;
    • classify water bodies to help you decide where

    In partnership with the Department of Health, the Town’s Health Services collect water samples from Sandy Beach Reserve and Point Reserve to test for bacteria and amoeba levels.  These water samples are collected each year on a weekly basis, between November and April.   There are a number of water bodies monitored within WA.  For an extensive list, refer to the Department of Health website.

    The purpose of monitoring the water quality is to achieve the following:

    • make sure the water is safe to swim in and recreate;
    • classify water bodies to help you decide where you want to swim;
    • issue warnings during pollution events;
    • identify bacterial pollution sources;
    • look for long-term bacterial trends.

    Bacteria in water can come from a number of sources including domestic animals, human effluent and wildlife.  Swimming and / or swallowing river water contaminated with high levels of bacteria, may cause illnesses such as gastroenteritis, skin irritations as well as respiratory, ear and eye infections. 

    What are we looking for?

    Bacteria

    Water samples are analysed for Enterococci, which are commonly found in the stomach of warm-blooded animals and humans.  Although enterococci are not harmful, high levels can indicate the possible presence of harmful microorganisms including viruses and protozoa.

    Water samples are also tested for the bacteria Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), which are a group of bacteria also found in the stomach of warm-blooded animals and humans.  These bacteria are a very good indicator of faecal contamination. 

    Amoebae

    Some water bodies are tested for amoebae – such as Naeglaria fowleri, which is responsible for the extremely rare but fatal disease amoebic meningoencephalitis (amoebic meningitis).

    The bacterial water quality at each site is assessed and a “Grade” is then assigned to that site.  There are five possible grades that could be assigned to the site: very good, good, fair, poor or very poor.  These grades have been further categorised into three colours, green, amber or red.  Green represents the safer areas to swim, whilst red represents the areas of higher risk.

    If you would like to report water pollution please go to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation information website here, or their online reporting form here.


    To enquire about Environmental Water Sampling at the Town of Bassendean, please click the 'Complete form' button below.

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