Environmental Health relates to the practice of managing the health risks of a community. Health Services has several programs that assess and manage risks, as well as providing direction and education to the community.
Some of the programs managed by Health Services include:
- Risk assessment and approval of food premises including restaurants, take away shops, lunch bars, pubs, etc.
- Risk assessment and approval of public events and buildings.
- Risk assessment and approval of on-site effluent disposal systems such as septic tanks, ATUs and grey water systems.
- Investigation of noise nuisances.
- Investigation of communicable diseases.
- Investigation of health nuisances including pests and odour.
- Monitoring of public swimming pools and river sampling.
- Risk assessment and monitoring of vectors of disease such as mosquitoes
An Environmental Health Officer is available to provide advice on public and environmental health matters.
Information on Noise
Noise refers to any loud sound that is unpleasant or unwanted. Most of us will accept the occasional bit of noise from neighbor, however, regular and ongoing disturbances can be annoying and lead to bad neighbourhood relations.
Find out which rules apply to different types of noise and which noises are exempt. The state regulations governing noise in WA are the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997
For further advice on who you may contact for your noise matter, follow this link to the Department of Environment Regulation’s website.
Loud music accounts for up to 40% of all noise enquiries received by the Town of Bassendean. As a guide, try to maintain music levels within the confines of your home/building and any dominant bass component to a minimum. If you’re playing a stereo system, check to see if you can hear the music outside on your property boundary. If you can, it’s probably too loud. If you use speakers outside in your garden, be mindful of this noise on your neighbours.
If you’re practicing an instrument, you can play for up to one hour per day between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm from Monday to Saturday and between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Also, try these simple tips to prevent noise from carrying:
- Play the instrument in a suitable room - a garden shed is not considered a suitable room;
- Maintain amplified instruments at the lowest volume possible;
- Consider sound-off pads and cymbal silencers on drum kits;
- Let your neighbours know when you’re likely to be practicing.
It’s reasonable for people to host the occasional party. However, if you’re entertaining outside, remember your neighbours and try these ideas:
- Forewarn your neighbours about the party and the likely finish time;
- Start your party earlier so it can finish earlier;
- Avoid using speakers outside the house and lower the volume control, especially with the bass;
- Move your guests inside after midnight and close all windows and doors to contain the noise;
- Provide a contact number or invite your neighbour to tell you if it gets too loud; and
- Be aware of other potential impacts, such as guests blocking neighbours’ driveways or litter.
Power tools can make quite a racket. Their use is only allowed provided the equipment is in good working order and compatible with the work being undertaken.
If using a static unit like a brick saw or compressor, try to position it away from your neighbour’s living and sleeping areas. You should also restrict usage to a maximum of two hours a day, between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, with a later start of 9.00 am on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Construction work is defined by the regulations as the construction, erection, installation, alteration, repair, maintenance, cleaning, painting, renewal, removal, excavation, dismantling or demolition of, or addition to any building or structure. Construction work that creates noise on a building site can be carried out between Monday and Saturday (excluding Public Holidays) from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm provided:
- The equipment is the quietest reasonably available; and
- Construction work adheres to Section 6 of the Australian Standard 2436 – 1981. To purchase a copy of the Australian Standard, visit www.saiglobal.com
Approval from the Town may be obtained in special circumstances to emit noise outside these times. This is usually for cases where it is impracticable to undertake the construction work during normal hours e.g. railway track works, road works on a major road. In these situations, a noise management plan must be lodged with the Town and it is usual for the Town to require that affected residents be notified of the works beforehand.
For construction work conducted on a Sunday or Public Holiday, builders are required to have an approved noise management plan. This includes details on how the work will be done and complaints resolution.
Please note that construction work may be carried out at any time if it is not emitting
any noise. For example, a painter using a brush or roller would not emit any noise
and therefore does not need to be restricted to the above times. Please note that this regulation only relates to noise and does not restrict workers arriving on site prior to 7am.
Certain noises are classified as “exempt”. In other words, the Town has no authority to control such types of noises. However, there may be other relevant authorities for some types of exempt noise such as aircraft noise or trains.
Exempt noises include propulsion and braking systems of motor vehicles, noise emissions from trains, aircrafts and safety warning devices fitted to motor vehicles and earth moving machinery.
If you’d like to find out more about the different restrictions and requirements applying to noise, you’ll find it all in the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997
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 notice 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 about the 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.
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
The Department of Environment 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.
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 can only be carried out by a Persons who holds an asbestos removal licence can. 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.
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 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 Mining and Petroleum
Regulates safe asbestos practices in the resources industry. Phone: 9358 8079. Visit the Department of Mines and Petroleum website
The Town of Bassendean Health Services enforce the Department of Health asbestos regulatory requirements and provide advice on local asbestos issues.
Department of Commerce – WorkSafe
- regulates and audits all aspects of asbestos in workplaces;
- licenses asbestos removalists;
- conduct periodic audits of licensed persons.
Phone: 1300 307 877. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Manages asbestos issues associated with its properties. 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.
Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia
Phone: 1800 646 690 (National Toll Free) or 9344 4077
Australian Asbestos Network
The Cancer Council helpline provides information and support for people affected by cancer, health professionals and the community.
Phone: 13 11 20 for the cost of a local call.
Environmental Water Sampling
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?
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.
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.
Pests come in all shapes and sizes and can be real…well, pests! Find out about some of your neighbourhood pests, specifically, those which may spread diseases like mosquitoes and rats. The Department of Agriculture and Food is the best source of information on other pests that you may come across including, spiders, insects and animals.
Common containers around our homes which collect rainwater or water from reticulation systems, can become suitable habitats for mosquito breeding. The mosquito species that breeds in these containers, is a known transmitter of the disease, Ross River Virus.
There are hundreds of other species of mosquitos which breed in other water bodies, such as road drains, septic tanks, disused swimming pools, saltmarshes…….etc…. Some of these species also can transmit Ross River Virus.
It is important for all of us to do what we can to minimise mosquito breeding in order to reduce their impact on our health and lifestyle.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. For example, pot plant trays, bird baths, water tanks, domestic ponds and roof gutters. To prevent them breeding in your backyard try the following:
- Get rid of containers which hold water;
- Keep mosquito-eating fish, like gold fish and pygmy perch, in garden ponds and eliminate vegetation around the edges of the pond;
- Keep swimming pools well chlorinated, filtered and free of dead leaves;
- Fill or drain depressions in the ground that hold water;
- Ensure the vent pipes on your septic tank systems are fitted with mosquito proof cowls. Seal all gaps in the lid and ensure leach drains are completely covered;
- Fit rainwater tanks with insect-proof mesh, including inlet, overflow and inspection ports. Also ensure your guttering is water-free;
- Empty pot plant drip trays once a week or fill them with sand; and
- Empty and clean animal and pet drinking water weekly.
Two of the most common mosquito-borne viruses in WA are Ross River Virus (RRV) and Barmah Forest Virus (BFV). Both viruses have similar symptoms and similar life cycles.
Symptoms can vary between people and include painful and/or swollen joints, sore muscles, aching tendons, skin rashes, fever, tiredness, headaches and swollen lymph nodes. While there’s no treatment for either RRV or BFV, your doctor can provide some relief. You can find out more about both viruses here
Our Control Program
The Town of Bassendean is highly vigilant in the management of mosquito breeding and has a monitoring and control program in place. This program includes:
- Routine monitoring of known salt marsh mosquito breeding sites;
- Regular trapping of adult mosquitoes to gauge numbers;
- Identification of mosquito species;
- Treatment of mosquito breeding on public land;
- Enforcement of local laws in relation to breeding on private property;
- Investigation of complaints about excessive breeding;
- Follow up questionnaires with residents who contract a mosquito-borne disease; and
- Health promotion activities.
The Town of Bassendean is also a member of the East Swan River CLAG with the Cities of Bayswater, Belmont and Swan and the Town of Victoria Park. For more information on our mosquito monitoring and control Program, have a look at our pamphlet.
‘Fight the Bite’ mozzie campaign
Launched in November 2016, the Fight the Bite campaign (Healthy WA) is aimed at reducing mosquito-borne diseases that afflict individuals, communities and the healthcare system.
The three central messages are to:
- cover up
- repel (use repellent)
- clean up areas around the home where mosquitoes can breed.
Rats and Mice
Rats and mice are almost always present throughout cities and suburban areas due to the opportunities for food and shelter afforded by human activity. In established suburbs, food and water is readily available from such things as, fruit trees, pet food.
We mainly see 2 types of rats. The Roof Rat and the Norway Rat.
- Norway rats (also known as sewer rats) eat a wide variety of foods but mostly prefer cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts and some fruits or pet food. They will travel an area of about 30-50 metres from their burrows or nests in search of food or water.
- Roof rats prefer fruits, nuts, berries, avocados, slugs and snails. They often eat fruit that is still on the tree. When feeding on an orange they make a small hole in the rind through which they completely eat the inside of the orange, leaving only the hollowed out rind hanging on the tree.
They will travel up to 100 metres for food and are food hoarders stashing supplies of food such as seeds and nuts.
You can control rodent populations by limiting the food and shelter available and by following these steps:
- Stacking wood about 40 cm off the ground and away from sides of sheds and fences;
- Removing fruit and nuts from vines and trees at the end of the season, picking up rotten fruit from the ground and removing fruit from palm trees when in bloom;
- Keeping the backyard as clean and as free of debris as possible;
- Maintaining rubbish and compost bins in good repair, with secure lids and free from holes;
- Keeping pet dishes clean and storing bulk pet food in closed containers; and
- Regularly removing garden waste from sheds and the yard.
Here’s an infosheet to assist you with identifying which rat has taken up residency at your property.
Baiting and trapping are the most common ways of eliminating your unwanted guests.
Baiting involves laying poison baits along rodent paths and in roof and wall cavities that are easily accessible. However, ensure the bait isn’t accessible to children or pets. Most supermarkets and hardware stores sell rodent bait, with the active ingredients of Bromodiolone or Brodifacoum.
There are two types of rodent traps – the old-fashioned snap back trap and the more recent, capture-box style of trap. Different types of bait can be used including peanut butter, bacon, chocolate and nuts. Placement of the trap should be in the rodent’s pathway, but never above food or food preparation surfaces, to avoid contamination by urine, droppings or blood.
Midges are small, gnat-like insects often found near wetlands. Non-biting midges don’t carry disease, but can cause a nuisance in residential areas, due to their attraction to lights. Midges can swarm in large numbers. However, these mating swarms are usually short-lived and tend to disperse within a few days. As midges are not disease carriers, Health Services do not treat for them.
There are different types of flies found in Western Australia, including non-biting, biting, predatory, pollinating and parasitic. Besides being a nuisance, flies can also carry bacteria. You can prevent flies breeding in and around your home by taking some basic steps:
- Make sure your rubbish an recycling bins are clean and closed at all times;
- Wrap all food scraps tightly and place them in the bin immediately;
- Keep poultry and pet areas clean at all times.
- Don't leave lawn clippings in heaps, rake them out thinly;
- Dig any manures and fertilisers well into the soil.
Health Service Documents
8.30am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
35 Old Perth Road, Bassendean, WA 6054
Tel: 9377 8000
Fax: 9279 4257