Fumigation site advice for local government

This page provides an overview of the fumigation site approvals process and the role local government has in assisting the Department of Health (the Department) with determining a site’s suitability for fumigation.

All fumigation sites are approved and regulated by the Department in accordance with the Health (Pesticide) Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) except for soil fumigations which the Department does not approve. This activity is exempt under the Regulations because it is undertaken by the property owner and not for gain or remuneration. Division 3 of the Regulations outline fumigation requirements with the primary intent to minimise public health risks from accidental exposure to fumigants. Occupational exposure, although covered in some sections of the legislation is predominantly addressed in the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and is not regulated by the Department.

Fumigation and fumigants

Fumigation is a pest management method where an enclosure is filled with a pesticide in a gaseous form to eliminate or control pests. The enclosure can be temporary or permanent and include buildings, stacks, containers, sheets enclosures, soil coverings, silos and cargo vessels.  A fumigant (pesticide in a gaseous form) is a registered pesticide that contains one of more of the following active ingredients:

  • chloropicrin
  • 1,3 – dichloropropene
  • ethanedinitrile
  • ethyl formate
  • ethylene dibromide
  • ethylene oxide
  • methyl bromide
  • phosphine
  • sulfuryl fluoride

Fumigation services are typically carried out on a broad range of commodities usually being prepared for import or export. They are normally proposed to occur at an existing workplace e.g. logistics, warehouse facility or manufacturer; however, this is not always the case.

Each site where fumigation takes place must be approved by the Chief Health Officer of the Department.  All information local government provides is taken into consideration during the assessment process.

Local government

As part of the Departments approvals process the proponent (proprietor of the workplace or proprietor of a pest management business) must receive written confirmation from the local government that fumigation activities are permitted at the proposed site under the town planning legislation. The proponent is required to contact the Town Planning section and/or Environmental Health section to obtain, written confirmation of support and submit this information with their application to the Department. 

Information the local government may take into consideration when considering the fumigation activity includes:

  • the workplace has appropriate planning approval to permit fumigation activities
  • §no residential properties are occupied within 100 metres of the workplace site boundary
  • the workplace and/or pest management business are not subject to any current environmental health investigations and;
  • any other relevant (including historical) information.

If any local government authority has concerns about a proposed fumigation activity, they are encouraged to contact the Chemical Hazards team at the Department.    

Site assessment and approval

The assessment process is conducted by the Department on a case by case basis. In some instances, a site visit may be scheduled. Out of courtesy, the local government will be provided with an opportunity to attend.

On completion of the assessment process, the applicant will be notified of the outcome and so will the following stakeholders:

  • Workplace business proprietor and fumigator providing the service
  • Local government authority and 
  • Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety WA (DMIRS) - Worksafe & Dangerous Goods

More information

Chemical Hazards
Phone 9222 2000
Email DOH.ChemicalHazards@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 02-12-2020
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate