Search Listing Details

Interest
Contaminated Sites (Contaminated Sites Database)
Responsible agency
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Summary

All known or suspected contaminated sites must be reported to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). Sites are classified based on the risk posed to the community and environment. A memorial may be registered on the property's Certificate of Title.  The Contaminated Sites Database holds information on confirmed contaminated sites. For information on all other reported sites submit a Form 2 to DWER.

Description

The Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (the Act) was introduced to identify, record, manage and clean up contamination. Under the Act, known or suspected contaminated sites must be reported to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, investigated and, if necessary, remediated.

DWER administers and enforces the Act which includes classifying sites (in consultation with the Department of Health) and making information on contaminated sites available to the public.

Prospective purchasers should be aware of the risk of potential contamination. It is not unusual for residential subdivisions to be built on land that was previously used for potentially contaminating activities, such as service stations, heavy industry and market gardens.

When buying or leasing property, you and/or your real estate professional should search published contaminated sites information as part of any routine, pre-purchase due diligence enquiry.

Failing to recognise that land is contaminated can have costly consequences for both the buyer and seller including potential prosecution and an obligation to pay for investigation or remediation of the land in the future.

DWER can allocate any one of seven possible classifications to sites but only information on confirmed contaminated sites (listed below) is available through the Property Interest Report.

  • contaminated–remediation required (the site needs to be cleaned up to protect human health and the environment);
  • contaminated–restricted use (the site is contaminated but suitable for use with some limitations, e.g. no use of groundwater); and
  • remediated for restricted use (the site has been cleaned up and is suitable for limited uses, e.g. an apartment block but not a kindergarten)

Owners of confirmed contaminated sites (the three classification categories specified above), are required to inform any potential new owner, lessee or mortgagee of the property’s contamination status at least 14 days before the completion of any land transaction (settlement date for a sale, date of mortgage registration for mortgage, date lease is signed/commenced for a lease). Disclosure is also required where an investigation, clean up or hazard abatement notice has been issued for a site. Complete and submit a Form 6 to DWER.

If the Property Interest Report returns a ‘nil response’ it does not mean the property is free from contamination. Submit a Form 2 to DWER to find out if the property has been reported as a known or suspected contaminated site and if investigations are required. Fees apply -- $30 for a basic summary of records and $300 for a detailed summary of records. Requests take around 10 working days to process.

If you need a formal, thorough investigation for potential contamination, consider engaging an environmental consultant to carry out a preliminary site investigation.

For more information, including access to all relevant forms, see DWER's website, www.der.wa.gov.au/contaminatedsites or contact the Contaminated Sites information line on 1300 762 982.

Date updated
30/10/2017 19:45:04