The former Gasworks site at East Perth was used for the production of gas from coal between 1922 and 1971. Since decommissioning of the gas plant in 1971, structures have been progressively demolished. The site is now used as a services depot by the State Energy Commission of Western Australia, which is the owner of the site. As a result of past operations, extensive contamination by coal tars, including known carcinogenic and toxic organic chemicals, exists on the site and in adjacent areas of the Swan River and the Claisebrook Drain. The site is regarded as a seriously contaminated industrial site.
In a separate proposal to this assessment, the East Perth Redevelopment Authority proposes to construct an artificial waterway called the Claisebrook Inlet. The waterway would be a focal point of the town centre for the redeveloped East Perth area, and would provide an aesthetic amenity and direct connection with the Swan River. The waterway would be located at the existing outlet of the Claisebrook Drain, which enters the Swan River adjacent to the southern boundary of the Gasworks site. Construction of the inlet and access channel would involve excavating material from the Claisebrook Drain and the Swan River, parts of which would include contaminated sediments. Movement of contaminants from the Gasworks site could have major deleterious effects, particularly in combination with the East Perth Redevelopment Authority's Inlet proposal. The proposed Claisebrook Inlet and the redevelopment of the East Perth area are therefore constrained by the necessity to properly manage the contamination within and around the Gasworks site.
This referral is the SECWA's proposed contamination management strategy for the Gasworks site and adjacent areas. The key environmental issues identified are: