In August 2022, Permacast commenced an expansion of operational infrastructure within the premises and in May/June 2023, following the completion of expansion works, started manufacturing large reinforced concrete beams and other large pre-stressed concrete products. These operations, in the absence of mitigation measures, created significant emissions of noise and vibration which impacted on nearby residents and resulted in an increase in complaints from the public to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (the department) and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale (the Shire) in June 2023. The department commenced an investigation into these complaints to determine whether regulatory action was required to mitigate impacts to residents.
During a joint site inspection by the department and the Shire on 6 July 2023, inspectors verified significant noise and vibration emissions from Permacast’s operations, and on 9 August 2023, the department issued a Prevention Notice (PN). This PN was cancelled on 23 August 2023 for administrative reasons and replaced with an Environmental Protection Notice (EPN).
The Notices issued by the department were intended to:
- require the appropriate management of waste (contaminated stormwater and contaminated vehicle wash water) which was or had been discharged
- prevent pollution, in the form of noise, dust and contaminated stormwater emissions from arising from operations and controlling or abating any pollution if it arises
- restrict operations resulting in the emission of noise, and to otherwise restrict certain operations to designated areas on the premises.
Noise emissions from the premises significantly reduced following the issue of the PN and EPN.
On 11 September 2023, Permacast made a submission to the department regarding the applicability of the registration and licensing provisions in the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) to their activities. The department subsequently completed a review and concluded that Permacast’s activities are not subject to the registration or licensing provisions in the EP Act and associated Regulations.
Regardless of whether the activities at the premises are prescribed, Permacast is still required to comply with the general provisions of the EP Act and relevant regulations including the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (Noise Regulations). The department’s conclusion was communicated to Permacast, the Shire and local residents.
Permacast subsequently implemented several emission mitigation measures for noise, wastewater and dust.
Whether the type of activities undertaken by Permacast should be regulated under Part V of the EP Act in the future will be considered as part of the department’s legislative reform program.
On 1 November 2023 a test was undertaken at stressing bed 4 ‒ the closest stressing bed to residents ‒ in accordance with the EPN. Noise experts and compliance officers from the department were present and recorded noise emissions from sound recording equipment at two separate residences nearby. The testing identified that the control measures put in place by Permacast had significantly reduced noise emissions, with noise levels recorded at one premises being compliant with the Noise Regulations. Noise levels recorded at the second premises were intermittently compliant and intermittently measuring minor non-compliance with the Noise Regulations.
Following additional noise mitigation improvements at the site, further testing was undertaken on 15 and 22 November 2023 at stressing bed 4 in the presence of department officers and the Shire.
Current situationShow more
The department has assessed the data collected from noise monitoring carried out by both the department and acoustic consultants engaged by Permacast during all test events. It has been determined that the noise mitigation infrastructure and operational improvements implemented by Permacast have been successful in reducing noise emissions in compliance with the Noise Regulations. It should be noted that Permacast operates within an industrial area, and that industrial noise will be present within this area. The assessments and monitoring undertaken have now demonstrated that this noise is within the allowable limits under the Noise Regulations.
Based on evidence that noise emission from the operations are now compliant with the Noise Regulations, the department has removed the restricted area from the EPN.
The department is monitoring the progress made by Permacast in addressing the remaining requirements of the EPN including the mitigation of dust and wastewater management. The department will consider any ongoing need for an EPN once Permacast has addressed the remaining requirements of the current EPN.
Separate from the requirements of the EP Act, the department understands that the operator has submitted a retrospective development application, which seeks to secure retrospective development approval for the works and use of the land under the Shire’s local planning scheme. This is yet to be determined by the relevant planning authorities and this planning process is separate to the EPN and EP Act administered by the department.
The retrospective development application is subject to determination by the Metro Outer Development Assessment Panel and is currently being assessed. Any questions on the status of the retrospective development application should be directed to the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale on 9526 1111.
The department will continue to monitor activities at Permacast to verify compliance with the EPN, the EP Act and the Noise Regulations.