Reduce exposure to environmental health risks

Local governments have achieved huge gains in improving the health of local communities by initiating surveillance and assessment programs and conducting health promotion activities that are designed to reduce exposure to environmental health risks common to WA. 

The following information provides practical initiatives to support local governments to continue to protect the environmental health of their community. These initiatives complement the administration of public health legislation across WA. 

Maintain safe food and water

  • Support and align local food safety objectives with WA Health’s Foodborne Illness Reduction Strategy 2018-2021+
  • Participate in food product quality and sampling programs (external site)
  • Provide food safety education and/or training to local food businesses
  • Conduct health promotion activities throughout the year (including Food Safety Week (external site) and Water Safety Week) to raise awareness about food preparation and hygiene practices in the home, and increase awareness on water related diseases and water management
  • Develop and implement a food compliance and enforcement policy specific to your local district
  • Educate food businesses about food allergens
  • Educate authorised officers on healthy food principles and advocate local food businesses, including council owned buildings, to incorporate healthy food options as part of routine inspections
  • Advocate for local community events to provide healthy food options as part of events approval processes
  • Monitor the bacterial water quality at popular swimming beaches and natural water bodies and communicate results to the community
  • Undertake sanitary surveys of popular swimming beaches to identify any sources of bacterial pollution that may impact on water quality and initiate strategies to reduce these pollutant sources
  • Ensure health warning signs advising the public of health risks of swimming in natural waterways are erected in popular bathing areas that may require them. Include information about the risks of consuming wild shellfish in areas that warrant this
  • Ensure non-drinking water systems are operated in such a way that the water they supply cannot be mistaken for drinking water
  • Respond to suspected water contamination complaints and provide chemical or microbiological water quality monitoring services and/or site inspections/investigations and reports
  • Provide water safety education to private drinking water providers (those who run a privately run system) to ensure they are properly maintained
  • Provide guidance to owners of onsite water treatment systems to make sure the systems are operated correctly

Maintain healthy built environments and industries

  • Develop policies for the application and management of pesticides in areas under the control of local government
  • Ensure the local government or contractors comply with the Guideline for the management of pesticide application by the local government
  • Respond to enquiries regarding the management of asbestos products in residential or public buildings
  • Ensure conditions are included on Demolition Permits for pre-demolition surveys and asbestos removal and disposal
  • Promote the Know Asbestos eLearning course to residents undertaking renovations in areas where asbestos has been commonly used in buildings, and provide links on your council website
  • Improve opportunities and reduce costs of asbestos disposal for local residents (eg. apply for levy exemptions, free disposal days at LGA waste facilities, organise asbestos/hazardous materials drop off days in a convenient location)
  • Increase awareness of the benefits of asbestos roof removal (aging products, difficulties in adequate maintenance, increased cost of removal for roofs in poor condition, damaged/poorly maintained roofs are a source of soil contamination)
  • Develop or embed regular environmental health communications within your local communication strategies including:
  • Strengthen partnerships with building surveyors to increase knowledge and awareness around building applications for public buildings to enhance compliance with applicable legislation
  • Encourage event organisers to submit details of their events online to the Department of Health to ensure health and emergency services are aware of high risk or concurrent events
  • Assess crowded places in accordance with the Crowded places self-assessment tool, to determine the potential for terrorist threats and liaise with WA Police and event managers to ensure that the protective security measures put in place are effective, appropriate and proportionate to the level and type of threat
  • Encourage event organisers to consider harm minimisation strategies at their events, such as chill out zones, providing free potable water that is cool and easily accessible, crowd management plans, Red Frogs, Save a mate etc.
  • Appoint Restricted Investigators to assist in enforcing some sections of the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and Regulations
  • Ensure environmental health / authorised officers regularly attend training to manage community risks

Manage environmental hazards to protect community health

  • Follow up notified cases of mosquito-borne disease (regional WA) and initiate risk management strategies to eliminate breeding sites
  • Advocate for a public health assessments to be integrated into local Development Assessment Panels to ensure health considerations are addressed in the planning phases of local development projects and facilitate risk management strategies early. This includes assessing the likelihood of mosquito borne disease breeding occurring near new residential developments
  • Develop and implement a mosquito management program for the local district
  • Form a Contiguous Local Authorities Group (CLAG) to access Department of Health funding for mosquito management
  • Participate in community studies and survey’s coordinated by the Department of Health to monitor environmental hazards that may impact the local community

Improve the environmental health conditions in remote Aboriginal communities

Further information

For further advice email the Environmental Health Directorate on



Last reviewed: 14-03-2024