Find out about water quality and water quality testing for drinking water, rainwater tanks, public swimming pools and natural recreational waterways.

Drinking water sampling

There are numerous properties throughout the Shire that are not connected to scheme water and rely on rainwater or bore water. The Shire’s Environmental Health Officers regularly sample non-scheme drinking water at premises where food is provided to the public.

Environmental Health Officers can sample private water supplies for a fee (refer to Schedule of Fees and Charges). Water samples are sent to a laboratory for bacterial analysis with results usually available within a week. If you are interested in a more thorough analysis of a water source, you will need to contact a private laboratory or environmental consultant to arrange the testing.

Please complete and submit the form below to request private water sampling.

The results of water sampling are compared with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

The WA Department of Health website provides useful information on water tanks on your property, including how to manage water quality and maintain your rainwater tank.

Please direct any questions regarding scheme water supplies to Water Corporation.

Rainwater tanks after a bushfire

Water in rainwater tanks can be contaminated during or after a bushfire, either indirectly by ash, smoke, debris or directly by fire and fire fighting activities. 

The Department of Health provides useful information on rainwater tank contamination.


Public swimming pools

The Environmental Health Unit routinely monitors and samples all public swimming pools and spas within the Shire.

Pool sampling takes place every month to ensure compliance with the Health (Aquatic Facilities) Regulations 2007 and the Code of Practice for the Design, Construction, Operation, Management and Maintenance of Aquatic Facilities. Public pools are also routinely inspected to ensure facilities remain compliant with the legal requirements.

All public pools are required to be approved by the WA Department of Health prior to construction and opening.

Natural recreational waterways

The Shire, in partnership with the WA Department of Health, monitors and samples water from popular recreational waterways to test the bacterial water quality during the summer months.

The sites that are sampled regularly, between November and May are:

  • Hardy Inlet
  • Gnarabup Beach
  • Gracetown Beach
  • Flinders Bay
  • Three separate sites along the Margaret River.

Tips for healthy swimming in the region’s natural waterways

Natural waters can be rivers, estuary, oceans, lakes or reservoirs. It is important to be aware of the health risks of swimming in these waters over the summer period as they can be polluted with bacteria or algae. 

Follow the tips below to minimise the risks: 

After heavy rainfall, pollutants collect from our streets, gardens and farms and are washed into our oceans and rivers via storm water systems. This can increase levels of harmful bacteria in the water and make it unsafe for swimming, especially if you put your head under water or if you swallow the water. As a precaution people should avoid swimming within 1 day after heavy rainfall in coastal waters and within 3 days after heavy rainfall in river, lake, dam or estuarine systems.

Avoid swimming if you notice the water is murky, discoloured or smelly. This is a clear sign that the water may not be safe to swim in.

Environmental Health Officers at the Shire will erect health warning signs to warn the public when they are aware of high levels of bacteria in a water body. Do not swim in the water if a health warning sign is posted.

If you swallow water that is polluted with bacteria or algae you increase your risk of getting ill. If you are unsure about a particular waterway, do not put your head under water. You may end up swallowing water and get sick.

Do not go swimming if you have an open wound or infection. If the water is polluted you risk further infection to your wound.

If you swim when you are ill, you put yourself and other swimmers health at risk. Do not swim if you are ill, or for two weeks afterwards, particularly if you have gastroenteritis symptoms such as diarrhoea or vomiting.

Do not add to the risk. Use proper toilet facilities when you are swimming. Young children need to be taken on regular toilet breaks so they do not use natural waters as a toilet.

Warm, slow moving, stagnant water is a sign you should not go swimming. These conditions can promote the growth of algal blooms and amoebic meningitis. Storm water runoff is one of the most common causes of water pollution. People should avoid swimming near storm water drains, particularly during or after rainfall events.

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