Wastewater Management

Wastewater is water that has already been used for its primary purpose in any setting including for domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural activities. Irrespective of its origin, all wastewater is required to be adequately disposed of in an approved manner.

The main residential centres of Port and South Hedland are connected to the Water Corporation’s reticulated sewerage system. The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1911 allows local government to require land owners to connect their premises with public sewer if the premises is within 91 metres of the sewer. Owners and occupiers may also be required to connect to the main sewer if an expansion occurs or if the reclassification of a property is occurring. To determine the connection requirements of a property, the Water Corporation may be contacted on 13 13 95.

The industrial areas of Hedland, including Wedgefield, and other remote areas of Hedland where connection to public sewer is unavailable, an onsite effluent disposal system is required to be installed in compliance with the Health (Treatment of Sewage and Disposal of Effluent and Liquid Waste) Regulations 1974. Prior to construction, an application to construct or install an apparatus for the treatment of sewage must be submitted to the Town for assessment to ensure compliance with requirements of the Regulations. Once approval has been granted, the apparatus may be installed and inspected by an authorised officer prior to being granted a permit to use.

Common types of wastewater systems include septic tanks connected to leach drains for land disposal and aerobic treatment units (ATU) connected to irrigation for land disposal. Mechanical wash-down facilities are also on-site wastewater management systems that require an application to the Town. Due to the elevated water table within certain areas of the Town of Port Hedland, soak wells are not considered as an approved method for effluent disposal due to the risk of groundwater contamination. In areas of elevated water table levels, leach drains may be required to be installed semi- or fully- inverted and/or the natural ground level may require elevation.

The Town’s Environmental Health department assesses each on-site wastewater system application and considers the following information:

  • Type of development and intended use of buildings
  • Size of the facility
  • Occupancy rate (number of persons) of the premises and maximum daily load (L/day)

For developments that are not a single dwelling, and premises that produce wastewater loads in excess of 540L/day, the application and local government report are required to be submitted to the Department of Health (DoH) for assessment. For all single dwellings and developments with loads below 540L/day, applications are assessed by the Town’s EHOs.

Approved applications are issued an approval to construct with a schedule of conditions addressed to the applicant. Once constructed, EHOs conduct an on-site inspection of the wastewater system to ensure compliance with the Regulations. Septic tanks and ATUs must have been holding water for 24 hours by the time of inspection and leach drains and irrigation lines must be exposed for inspection. An authorised officer will require, at a minimum, that an ‘as constructed’ diagram and a certificate of compliance under the Plumbing Licensing Board are submitted to the Town prior to the grant of a Permit to Use.

It is important to note that it is an offence under the Regulations to install an apparatus for the treatment of sewage without an approval from the Department of Health or the Town’s Environmental Health department. It is also an offence to use an apparatus for the treatment of sewage without a Permit to Use.

Useful Links:

Application to Construct or Install an Apparatus for the Treatment of Sewage

WA Health: Wastewater system loading rates information

WA Health: Approved septic tanks

WA Health: Approved leach drains

WA Health: Approved aerobic treatment unit

For further information please contact the Town’s Environmental Health department on 9158 9300.