Falcon man warns of bore lid dangers, calls for legislation

Mandurah residents have again been urged to heed warnings that danger could be lurking in their own backyards under old and unsafe bore lids.

Falcon man Ben Kraucevs has been pushing for legally-binding domestic bore safety for more than 12 months after witnessing a child playing near a bore that had a rusty and old lid.

Afterpurchasing a house in 2014 with a bore covered only by a piece of old picket fence, Mr Kraucevs was motivated to improve the safety of the bore to avoid serious injury on his property.

"My brother suggested we get new lids so we started searching for them but we couldn't find anywhere that sold them so we thought what if we just make one," he said.

"We found there are no real requirements, you could just do whatever you want - there is nowhere that standardises or regulates them.

"Even the gold standard book for bores hardly mentions the lids - it talks about casing, drilling, headworks of the bore - but not the lids."

Even the gold standard book for bores hardly mentions the lids - it talks about casing, drilling, headworks of the bore - but not the lids.

Ben Kraucevs

Domestic bores, located in urban areas and on the metropolitan fringe, generally abstract groundwater for irrigation purposes.

The small groundwater bores are a common feature throughout many suburbs in private gardens and community parks.

It is estimated there are about 190,000 domestic bores within the Perth-Peel metropolitan area, with a combined abstraction of up to 82 gigalitres per year from shallow groundwater.

Mr Kraucevs said unsafe and unregulated bore lids posed a number of potential dangers.

"It is an environmental problem because all of the run-off from gardens and such - if your lid isn't holding the water out which it is meant to, we could have thousands of bores leaking Effluen straight into our aquifer," he said.

"Then there is a safety issue with kids playing around them, native animals and pets falling down them.

"Not only are the holes deep, but they have dodgy ladders in them or aren't accessible for maintenance workers going down to fix the pump and you never know what's underneath that isn't labelled on top of the lid either."

Read more:

Since founding his own business around the problem to build and replace unsafe bore lids across the region, Mr Kraucevs said he had been exposed to some alarming risks.

"There isn't a week that goes by that we aren't shocked by the states of some of them," he said.

"People have contacted us saying that their children would play out the front near the bore and they had never checked what is underneath them - they are 15-20 metres deep.

"Parents never realise and they always agree that there should be some legislation regarding this."

There isn't a week that goes by that we aren't shocked by the states of some of them.

Ben Kraucevs

Mr Kraucevs has been in meetings and discussions with the Mandurah mayor and local politicians to push for broader community awareness on the issue and implement legislation on bore lids.

He said he will continue his mission until there is a standard requirement for private landowners to ensure their bores are sufficiently covered.

"I want to head up to Perth and speak to all the shires along the way and the mayors to get this out there," Mr Kraucevs said.

"I want to change the legislation to regulate these bore lids because they are not regulated right now.

"What we would like to see is either the council or Australian standards or for legislation to be passed that states a regulated style of lid to be used and it needs to be locked."

Mandurah MP David Templeman said it was something that could be taken more seriously.

"I believe there is some argument that poorly maintained bores could pose a safety concern," he said.

"Local governments could play a key role in the education process of circulating the guidelines to future and existing bore owners".

I believe there is some argument that poorly maintained bores could pose a safety concern.

Mandurah MP David Templeman

City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said construction and maintenance of private garden bores was the responsibility of the property owner.

"Legislation covering garden bores is implemented by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation," he said.

"The City works with the local community on a range of environmental initiatives and encourages the responsible usage of water."

According to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, there are minimum construction guidelines for bores that should be followed.

"The most basic is to check that the external bore housing (cover, box or cap) is intact and safe," the website reads.

"All garden bores should be capped."