What is pollution?
Pollution is created when a chemical or physical agent is released into the environment with little or no control, and in such a manner as to be detrimental to human health and/or the natural environment.
What is our role?
Health Services is actively involved in a number of programs that aim to control pollution within the district, so that environmental standards are maintained and can be enhanced.
How we control pollution:
Pollution can be emitted in a number of ways. Its control is carried out in the following program areas:
In most cases larger industries operate under licence conditions issued by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). In these cases your complaint will be referred to the DEC for investigation.
For more information on licensed premises refer to the Department of Environment and Conservation website.
During the summer months in 2010 the City of Cockburn Health Services received numerous enquiries about dust emissions affecting the suburb of Beeliar. A source of dust for the area was determined to be a market garden located on Tindal Avenue. A summary of the City's investigations is provided by the Manager, Environmental Health in the following document.
The cleanliness of the air we breathe is very important. Poor air quality can impact on our health and, as a result, we are less tolerant of offensive smells and visible air particulates such as smoke and dust.
Odour and smoke problems in the community are controlled by local nuisance laws based on health legislation which guards against accumulations of impurities, smokes or gases in the air which are offensive, injurious, or dangerous to health. Please refer to the following for further information:
In investigating smoke or odour complaints the City's Environmental Health Officers may ask you to keep a record of events sheet to assist with the investigation.
Correct storage of wood and operation of your wood heater is very important to prevent excessive smoke from your chimney that could affect your neighbours. Wood smoke can significantly affect your neighbours that suffer from respiratory illnesses, and especially young children and the elderly. It can also generally cause a nuisance to neighbours by preventing them from being able to use outdoor areas or causing washing on the line to smell of smoke.
It is recommended that wood is purchased in summer or early winter to make sure it has a low moisture content. Ask your retailer about the moisture content of the wood you are purchasing, it must be below 20%, and the retailer should have a moisture meter to show you how dry the wood is. Wood should be stored in a well-ventilated, undercover area. Using dry wood gives your more heat for your dollar.
To minimise smoke when lighting the fire it is important to use paper and kindling to get the fire burning hot and bright before adding larger logs. Open the flue and leave the air control on full. Allow full air for 15-20 minutes after reloading, and either let the fire burn out overnight or leave the air supply open a little to avoid excessive smoke. It is important to check your chimney occasionally to monitor the amount of smoke emissions and have your flue cleaned at least once a year.
For further information visit the Department of Environment and Conservation website or the Australian Home Heating Association.
Contaminated sites are managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation. In relation to land, water or a site, the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 defines 'contaminated' as:
"having a substance present in or on that land, water or site at above background concentrations that presents, or has the potential to present, a risk of harm to human health, the environment or any environmental value."
Examples of potentially contaminating activities include service stations, landfills, power stations, gasworks and market gardens. Contamination is usually caused by spills or leaks, such as from fuel or chemical storage tanks or poor management practices at industrial sites.
Land owners, occupiers and polluters are required to report known or suspected contaminated sites to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). Reported sites are then classified, in consultation with the Department of Health, based on the risks posed to the community and the environment, and remediation may be required.
An owner or occupier of land within the City of Cockburn on which any works that have the potential to create dust are proposed, must submit to the City's Health Services, and gain written approval of, a dust management plan before any work commences.
The dust management plan must be compiled in accordance with Council's
AND comply with the Department of Environment's Land Development Sites and Impacts on Air Quality,
AND Councils Policy SDP7.
In 2003, Council approved Policy SDP7, Prevention of Sand Drift from Subdivision and Development Sites, to prohibit bulk earthworks on Class 3 and 4 sites between the 1st October to 31st March (the moratorium period).
Bulk earthworks are defined as clearing, land recontouring and cut-to-fill operations. Work such as construction of retaining walls, installation of sewers and construction of roads is considered to be civil earthworks, and will still be permitted provided a dust management plan has been approved.