Thursday, December 16, 2021

Builders and developers urged to prioritise sediment runoff control checks to protect Sydney’s waterways

Poor sediment controls on a building site Nov 2021
Poor sediment controls on a building site

As the construction industry picks up the pace following the recent COVID-19 lockdown and rainfall surge, results from the November Get the Site Right inspection blitz show that more effort is needed by builders and developers to improve erosion and sediment controls on their sites.

Seventeen councils across Sydney and the Hunter Coast took part in the week-long education and compliance campaign with officers inspecting almost 500 residential and commercial sites.

Of the sites inspected 63 per cent were compliant, down 4 per cent from the May campaign. A total of $119,600 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites. Offences ranged from runoff migrating to stormwater pits, poorly stabilised site access, and sediment tracking off the site.

The majority of site managers who were present at the time of inspection (88%) were considered to have a satisfactory understanding of erosion and sediment controls.

As a part of the campaign, the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) also undertook site inspections of state significant developments, including residential sites, schools, rail and linear infrastructure projects.

Georges Riverkeeper Program Manager, Beth Salt, said that with the increase in construction and rainfall expected in coming months, builders and developers need to install and maintain appropriate controls on their sites.

“The construction industry has experienced challenges in recent months, including Covid-related restrictions and wet weather, however, there’s no room for complacency when it comes to sediment control on building sites, especially when rainfall is high,” Beth Salt said.

“Georges Riverkeeper will continue to work with Councils and other partners to ensure builders and developers Get The Site Right.”

Now in its sixth year, Get the Site Right is a joint campaign between the Cooks River Alliance, Department of Planning, Industry & Environment, Georges Riverkeeper, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, local Sydney councils, and Lake Macquarie Council.

In 2022 the campaign will be joined by Wollongong City and Shellharbour City Councils.

Members of the public are encouraged to report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to their local council or the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.