Busselton residents take action over water contamination

Rendezvous Road property owners have engaged lawyers to seek compensation from the City of Busselton over contaminated groundwater.

The city has been advised the property owners would claim for loss and damage suffered as a result of the nuisance caused by the groundwater contamination, which is associated with the decommissioned waste disposal site on the road. 

Testing in 2018 identified PFAS in the groundwater at some properties affected by contamination.

PFAS are per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances containing fluorine chemicals which have been used since the 1950’s to manufacture products which resist heat, oil and water. 

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City of Busselton chief executive officer Mike Archer said the city had complied with its groundwater testing obligations under its licence since before 2000, and with reporting requirements under the Contaminated Sites legislation.

He said the city had also taken these legacy issues extremely seriously since exceedances of contaminant levels were first detected in ground water testing.

“We have engaged leading environmental consultants to assist in the investigations and we continue to undertake a rigorous monitoring program in strict accordance with regulatory guidelines,” he said.

“The city has been transparent in our disclosures and private bore groundwater test results have been provided to affected residents and the status of affected properties has been made publicly available on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation website.

“We are also working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure these legacy issues are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner. 

“In order to mitigate the impact of these water quality issues on the lifestyle and amenity of potentially affected landowners, the city has also provided, as a temporary measure assistance to these landowners, the installation of private water tanks and reticulation, for garden irrigation and other non-potable uses.”

The issue of contamination relates to waste disposal methods at the old landfill site dating back more than 70 years, well before strict state and federal environmental controls were introduced.

Consumer and industrial products disposed of at the tip in the past contained pollutants that appear to have leached into the groundwater over time, impacting on the quality of shallow groundwater in the area.

As a result, a number of properties have been classified under the Contaminated Sites legislation and certain restrictions in the use of shallow ground water have been put in place.

The city is continuing to monitor ground water quality from monitoring bores in an area to the north of the city’s Rendezvous Road waste transfer facility.

The test results of the most recent monitoring works are expected within the next three months.

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