Why should you care about erosion and sediment control on building sites?
The suburbs around Sydney’s waterways are booming. Our growing population and need for more housing, schools, roads and other amenities has seen a rise in new residential and commercial developments and construction, as well as increased public expectation for a quality, local waterway which we can safely use for leisure activities.
Did you know that up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm if not properly contained? If sediment such as soil, sand, dirt and mud are not properly managed on building sites they can directly pollute our river and cause severe environmental problems, making it less safe for people to use.
Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and Department of Planning and Environment, and more than 20 Sydney councils. We are working together to target developers and enforce best practice on commercial and residential building sites, as well as major infrastructure projects, to protect our waterways and surrounding environments.
How sediment spills affect our environment and waterways:
- Directly pollutes our creeks, river and harbours by filling them with dirt, soil, sand and mud. This leads to poorer water quality, affecting swimming or leisure activities in and around our waterways.
- Destroys aquatic habitats and smothers native plants and animals that live our waterways.
- Blocks stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows.
- Erodes creek and river banks.
- Causes health and safety risks such as slippery roads and tripping hazards.
There are rules that developers need to follow to contain and manage sediment on their work site in a responsible manner. It is against the law to breach these rules. Local councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority have the power to issue penalties from $8000 to $15,000 for each incident.
We all have a part to play in protecting Sydney’s waterways.
See a site that’s not right? Report all building site pollution concerns to your local council.
Home builders and renovators
If you are building or renovating a home, submission of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required before works begin. Ensure your builders are adhering to the rules. For more information, click here or contact your local council or the NSW Environment Protection Authority for further consultation.
Developers and builders
If you are a developer or managing a building site, download a quick summary of the facts or consult the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s ‘Blue Book’ for detailed rules and guidelines.