Stonebridge Estate - Site Works

Vasse development Stonebridge Estate allay contamination fears

The developer of Stonebridge Estate in Vasse have issued a statement advising there was no groundwater contamination on the development site.

Testing was conducted in compliance with conditions imposed by Department of Water and Environmental Regulation which found there was no contamination.

The statement was made after eighteen properties around Rendezvous Road and Jarrah Elbow were infiltrated by contaminated groundwater, residents were notified their bore water was not safe to use.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation found the source of the groundwater contamination had come from the Busselton Waste Facility which was used as landfill for around 50 years.

QUBE director Rod Gardiner wanted to allay concerns held by purchasers or the community that land could not be approved for development if it was subject to any contamination. 

“Understandably there is community concern, but at estate there has been extensive testing and DWER has cleared it for subdivision. There is no cause for concern,” he said. 

“Since taking over the site in 2015, we have employed ongoing testing. This has included the identification of potential contamination points and testing both soil and groundwater.

“Our testing, which has been audited, did not identify any contamination which would preclude residential development.”

Mr Gardiner said the WA Planning Commission conditionally approved their development application in January 2017 with a condition to undertake investigations which have been completed.

In April, DWER issued a clearance for the subdivision in regards to contamination, confirming the investigations were in-line with DWER guidelines. 

Mr Gardiner said they would request the City of Busselton remove the estate from the investigation area as the site posed no risk to health or the environment and would continue to conduct ongoing tests. 

He also said Stonebridge Estate residents would be on scheme water and reticulated sewer with limited need to access ground water or bore water. 

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation director science and planning Kerry Laszig said based on available information, groundwater contamination associated with the landfill did not appear to extend into the estate.

Ms Laszig said groundwater investigations were completed at Stonebridge Estate in 2017, to demonstrate that lot two (formerly used as an abattoir) was suitable for the proposed residential land use.

“These investigations, while focused on the former abattoir use, did not identify groundwater contamination associated with the landfill beneath Stonebridge Estate,” she said.

Ms Laszig said groundwater investigations commissioned by the city to date had not been undertaken north of Kookaburra Way.

“DWER has been advised that additional groundwater testing, commissioned by the developer, has recently been completed at Stonebridge Estate for contaminants known to be associated with the landfill,” she said

“The department expects the results of this testing to be submitted for review when available.”

Ms Laszig said further investigation and modelling were required to better understand the behaviour of the groundwater contamination and the potential for contaminants to move beyond the current known extent of the plume.

“It is likely that the current extent of the plume has taken several decades to form, and therefore may now be reasonably stable,” he said. 

“If modelling indicates the plume may spread further and pose a potential risk to human health or the environment, then remediation and/or management would be required.”

City of Busselton director of engineering and work services Oliver Darby said DWER mandate the area of investigation which may change depending on the outcome of investigations.

“The city does not have any objection to Stonebridge Estate, seeking exclusion from the investigation area,” he said. 

”The extent of potential contamination at this stage, is substantially smaller than the area of investigation.”