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Vasse Estuary sediment removal project complete

A project to remove 780 cubic meters of sludge from the Vasse Estuary to help reduce odours for nearby Wonnerup residents has been completed.

  • State Government contributed $320,000 towards sediment removal in the Vasse Estuary near Busselton
  • The project aims to improve livability for residents adjacent to the estuary by removing accumulated ‘black ooze’ sediment that causes odour

The project has been delivered through a partnership between Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Water Corporation, who implemented an innovative technique to remove and dispose of the sediment.

A vacuum sucker attached to an excavator was used to remove the sludge, which was then trucked to the Busselton Wastewater Treatment Plant for drying and treatment.

The project removed all accessible sediment up to five metres from the shoreline, along a 220 metre length adjacent to James Richardson Park.

Scientists monitored water quality in the estuary throughout the sediment removal process to ensure there were no impacts to estuary water quality.

Sediment has built up on the Vasse estuary shoreline over many years and when exposed over summer months, causes persistent odours.

The Vasse Wonnerup wetlands are a unique and significant natural asset, recognised internationally for their importance as waterbird habitat. The wetlands are also a registered Aboriginal site. Using techniques to remove the sediment in an environmentally and culturally sensitive way was a priority for this location.

This project is part of Revitalising Geographe Waterways, overseen by the Vasse Taskforce and is part of the State Government-funded Healthy Estuaries WA program. More information on the program can be found at is external)

Comments attributed to Water Minister Simone McGurk:

“Estuary View Drive residents have been asking for action to improve the smell from Vasse Estuary sediment.

“The project has been a long time in the making and I’m confident it will provide some relief for Wonnerup residents next summer.”

Comments attributed to Vasse Taskforce Chair Pierre Yang:

“This project has been made possible due to innovative thinking from Vasse Taskforce partner agencies who devised the unique methodology.

“The extent of improvements to smells from the estuary will be clearer next summer when water levels fall again.”

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