Improving erosion and sediment control on building sites
Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Water NSW, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning and Environment, and many Sydney councils, including most of Georges Riverkeeper's Member 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.
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.
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.
Get The Site Right Blitz: 16 to 20 October 2023
Your local Council's Compliance Officers will be conducting inspections from 16 to 20 Oct. 2023 to ensure that correct erosion and sediment controls are in place on building sites. Be warned: fines may be issued for non-compliance.
See a site that's not right? Contact your local council or the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.
To Get The Site Right, avoid these mistakes!
Collapsed sediment fences, loose sand and poor site control are some of the things you can be reported and fined for.
Follow the rules
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.
Home builders and renovators
If you are building or renovating a home, you must have erosion and sediment control measures in place. Ensure your builders are adhering to the rules. For more information, click here or contact your local council.
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.
Sediment runoff can be reduced and prevented to give us cleaner, safer, and more scenic creeks, rivers and other waterways. This short webinar, which was prepared for Council staff participating in the campaign, explains the environmental impacts of sediment runoff on our waterways, and why we must ensure building and construction sites have effective erosion and sediment controls in place.
WE ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN PROTECTING SYDNEY’S WATERWAYS.
Report pollution incidents, including poor erosion and sediment control, to your local council or the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.
'Get the Site Right' awareness campaign video.
Get The Site Right Campaign Combined Councils Results from Oct 2016 to May 2023
Get the Site Right May 2023 Blitz Results
Analysis of the results shows:
- 22 councils across Greater Sydney and parts of regional NSW, the NSW Environment Protection Authority and Dept of Planning and Environment took part in the month-long campaign.
- Regulatory staff conducted 1177 inspections of 825 building and construction sites, approximately 30 per cent of which were conducted on the one-day blitz.
- Of the sites inspected, 61 per cent were compliant overall by the end of the campaign, up six per cent from the October 2022 campaign.
- For sites that were inspected more than once, 75 per cent were found to be compliant on the second inspection – a dramatic improvement highlighting the importance of repeat inspections and ongoing education.
- A total of $376,789 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites.
Read more about the May 2023 campaign results.