Public and Aboriginal Health Division
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Produced by the Environmental Health Directorate (EHD)
February 2021

Wastewater management consultation paper open for comment
Environmental health risks during and after a bushfire
Environmental health risks following a cyclone or flood
Update on stage 5 of the Public Health Act 2016
Register for the Public Health Act update and Food Safety Culture webinar
Food safety posters and stickers now available to order online
Managing pesticides in local government
Assessment of site and soil evaluation reports workshop
New site and soil evaluation for onsite wastewater management webpage
The difference between AWTS and STS
Sewage testing for SARs-CoV-2
Chlorine gas accident
Policy position: Backyard pools for hire
Water testing errors - aquatic facilities
Online portal for access to Ross River virus data
Reminder: Broome mosquito management course
Cancer council resource for local governments
COVID-19 in WA: Impact on lifestyle report
WA Scholarships for PHAA conferences

Successful prosecution following Salmonella outbreak in Wanneroo
Busselton creates internal food audit checklist
Wastewater consultation discussion paper open for comment
It's here, the anticipated Managing public health risks from wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal in WA discussion paper has been released for three month consultation. EHOs are encouraged to read the paper and complete the survey online. Circulate to industry representatives with an interest in contributing to the direction of wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal in WA. Consultation closes on 21 May 2021. It is important to note you can save your responses and return at a later time to complete the survey before submitting it. Preview a printable version of the questions here before completing online. 
Environmental health risks during and after a bushfire
A new webpage outlines the various environmental health risks during and after a bushfire and the role of EHOs. The Environmental Health Directorate endeavours to support local government EHOs whose communities are impacted by severe bushfires, with staff available to assist with any queries related to environmental health matters. Email feedback to EH, Stakeholder Engagement.
Environmental health risks following cyclones or floods
A new webpage now consolidates information to support EHOs to manage the various environmental health risks following cyclones and floods. The information is accessible from the disaster management section on the EH Practitioner landing page. Email feedback to EH, Stakeholder Engagement.
Update on stage 5 of the Public Health Act
As a result of the State's response to COVID-19 taking precedent in 2020-21, the anticipated introduction of stage 5 of the Public Health Act during 2021 has to be modified. Revised timeframes for stage 5 implementation are now anticipated for completion by July 2022. The EHD will provide an update on the Public Health Act in our March webinar, registration details below.    
Register: Public Health Act and Food Safety Culture webinar
As part of the EHD webinar series, please join us for an update on stage 5 of the Public Health Act 2016, and learn more about the local government role in promoting food businesses to foster a Food Safety Culture. The webinar will be held on Tuesday 16 March 2021, 9am to 10:45am. Register here
Food safety posters and stickers available to order online
WA local governments and Health Service Providers can now order a range of food safety posters and stickers designed for food retailers from our online publication ordering system. Search category is Environmental Health (second page). The resources are available free of charge. Industry can only order resources through local government. Resources can be view on the Food Safety Toolkit webpage
Managing pesticides in local government guide
The Guide to the management of pesticides in local government pest control programs in WA has been updated. The document is aimed at local government staff responsible for the management of pest control programs within their local government who are interested in adopting better management of the use of pesticides, more effective use of contracted pest management technicians, an increased level of community awareness and involvement with the program and a more consistent and considered approach to the management of pest control programs. Further details are available on the pesticide webpage.
Assessment of site and soil evaluation reports workshops
As part of the 74th EHA (WA) State Conference EHD staff will present a half day Assessment of Site and Soil Evaluation Reports workshop on 24 February 2021 in Upper Swan. The key elements of the workshop will focus on the assessment of the Site and Soil Evaluation Reports prepared to determine site suitability for an on-site wastewater system installation. The requirements of the current and proposed wastewater management legislative framework, approval process of on-site wastewater system installation and case studies will also be discussed. Register here.
New site and soil evaluation for onsite wastewater management webpage
The Site and soil evaluation for onsite wastewater management webpage is now online to assist industry and enforcement agencies in the preparation and assessment of site and soil evaluation (SSE) reports. Information includes:
Sewage testing for SARs-CoV-2
The Department of Health in collaboration with the Water Corporation and PathWest is part of a nationwide effort to develop a reliable sewage testing program for SARs-CoV-2, the CoLoSSos Project. Wastewater testing in WA while still in pilot stage is monitoring 24hour composite samples collected each week from six WWTPs (Subiaco, Beenyup, Woodman Point, Gordon Road, Alkimos, Rockingham) in the Perth metropolitan area. Weekly sampling is now expanding to monitor the following major regional centres: Busselton, Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Northam, Esperance, Broome, Bunbury and Port Hedland. For more information go to the WA Health webpage or CoLoSSos website.
Chlorine gas accident
A recent public swimming pool accident resulted in patrons being exposed to chlorine gas. An investigation found that the automatic chemical dosing system was not in operation awaiting the replacement of electronic parts following a power surge. Rather than close, the operators chose to open the pool and maintain chlorine and pH levels by manually dosing chlorine and acid. During the holiday period with limited available staff the pool operator, to save time, decided to pour powdered chlorine and liquid acid directly into the skimmer box causing the release of chlorine gas. As a result, five swimmers were taken to hospital. 
Policy position: Backyard pools for hire
The EHD recently surveyed local government seeking preferred options for the best way to handle the hire of residential swimming pools. As a result, the EHD will propose to the Chief Health Officer that a class exemption (from the Health (Aquatic Facilities) Regulations 2007) for residential swimming pools for hire be prepared on condition that 1) any approval to operate a web based residential swimming pool hire service be managed through existing home occupation approval processes administered in accordance with town planning requirements, and 2) the EHD produce a guidance document to assist operators manage their duty of care.The EHD appreciates the support of survey respondents.
Water testing errors - aquatic facilities
Simple errors in manual water testing procedures can lead to serious risks to public health. Recently it was found that a pool operator was using incorrect test reagent and a dirty cuvette (sample tube). The operator tested free chlorine on his photometer and was observed using DPD-1 (rather than the required DPD-XF) reagent with the test kit set to “extended range” (free chlorine 0-10ppm). The operator also failed to wipe fingerprints and water drops from the cuvette before placing into the instrument. As the test kit was not correctly set to match the DPD reagent the test kit displayed a chlorine level that was far below the actual chlorine level in the swimming pool. This serves as a reminder to use an approved water test kit in accordance with Section 5.4 of the Code of Practice, and follow the test kit manual.
The difference between AWTS and STS
Both Aerated Wastewater Treatment Systems (AWTS) and Secondary Treatment systems (STS) use similar technology to treat wastewater to the same quality. The only difference between these two types of systems is that the AWTS system is tested to Australian Standard AS1546.3:2008 (now superseded) and STS systems is tested to Australian Standard AS1546.3:2017. Approved AWTS and STS systems can be installed anywhere in WA. However, be aware the Government Sewerage Policy 2019 (GSP) does not permit the installation of a AWTS system in sewage sensitive area or public drinking water source area. (STS systems may only be used in these areas). Although the GSP does NOT normally apply to a single house on a single lot development, a building application or an onsite wastewater system installation application. EHOs are reminded to check to see if any conditions have been applied at an early stage of development (e.g. Development Approval or Subdivision Approval) to ensure that the correct wastewater apparatus is installed.
Online portal for access to Ross River virus data 
RRV disease notifications have risen above the long term average, with a number of hot spots identified throughout the State. Local Government can keep up to date with reported cases in their area using an online portal, the Atlas of Environmental Health, to access de-identified case data within their jurisdiction. Data is updated weekly and can help to identify RRV activity that may require investigation and management. Contact Medical Entomology for log-in access.
Reminder: Broome Mosquito Management Course
A 3-day mosquito management training course will be held in Broome, 24 – 26 March. Places are limited and filling up quickly. If you are interested in attending refer to the registration package.
Cancer council resource for local governments
The Cancer Council WA has released a new resource to help local governments take action to improve the health and wellbeing of their local communities, specifically related to cancer prevention. The resource can support local governments identify useful actions to incorporate in their public health plans to align with objective one of the WA State Public Health Plan. Learn more here.
COVID-19 in WA: Impact on lifestyle report
A new Department of Health report has provided a glimpse into the impact of COVID-19 on the lifestyle habits of Western Australians. A series of COVID-specific questions were developed asking about aspects, such as health, wellbeing, lifestyle, income and employment, that had changed as a result of COVID-19. Read the full report here.
WA Scholarships for PHAA conferences
With the aim of building the advocacy skills and capacity of our members, PHAA (WA Branch) is pleased to offer two scholarships to attend either Safety Pre-Conference Global Injury Prevention Showcase in March 2021, Preventive Health Conference in May 2021, OR the National Immunisation Conference in June 2021. Applicant can select which conference they would like to attend. Learn more here
Local Government Environmental Health Initiatives

Promoting local government environmental health initiatives across WA. 
Successful prosecution following a Salmonella food poisoning outbreak in Wanneroo
In April 2020 a food business in the City of Wanneroo re-opened for takeaway trading following COVID-19 easing of restrictions. What began as a report of a family’s illness, quickly escalated to the State's largest known point source Salmonella food poisoning outbreak, resulting in 107 cases. The City of Wanneroo and the Department jointly investigated. Whole Genome Sequencing technology was used  to substantiate food samples taken from the food business and food sold to the family, and cases across the Perth were all genetically identical. The cause of illness was attributed to consuming banh mi, which contained an egg butter. Not only was this outbreak the State’s largest recorded, it was also the first prosecution in WA to be considered by the Courts directly connected to selling unsafe food, leading to illness. An overview of the investigation will be presented at the EHA conference.
Busselton develops internal food audit checklist
In early 2020 the Office of the Auditor General undertook an audit that included determining if local governments effectively regulated consumer food safety in food businesses within their local area. The City of Busselton EH Services participated in the audit, and later developed a food audit tool to support other local governments in performing a similar internal audit of their own food regulatory management systems. A presentation was also provided on their experience.
We need your help to identify environmental health initiatives and examples of case studies, consumer awareness and surveillance programs happening across WA local governments. Email EH Stakeholder Engagement with information on yours or another local governments projects worthy of promoting in the e-News.
Environmental Health Meetings

Aboriginal Environmental Heath Forum, Geraldton, 9 February 2021, Contact John Perrett for details

Aboriginal Environmental Heath Forum, Kalgoorlie, 18 February 2021, Contact
John Perrett for details

North-West Environmental Health Officers Regional Meeting, 23 March 2021, Broome

Peel Environmental Health Officers Regional Meeting, 25 March 2021, Mandurah 

Aboriginal Environmental Heath Forum, Broome, May 2021, Contact John Perrett for details

Local Government Regional Group Coordinators, Environmental Health Australia WA
Contact us

The Environmental Health Directorate switchboard can be contacted on
(08) 9222 2000 or email 

The Department of Health head office switchboard is (08) 9222 4222
Download our staff list 
(updated January 2021)
Order publications online
A selection of hard copy Environmental Health Directorate resources can be ordered online using the Department of Health’s
online publication ordering system. Create an account and enter the search category "environmental health".
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Phone: (08) 9222 2000
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 8172
Perth Business Centre WA 6849
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Environmental Health Directorate, Department of Health WA · PO BOx 8172 · Perth Business Centre, WA 6849 · Australia