Thursday, August 1, 2019

Construction industry getting the site right as run-off blitz records improvement

Construction site showing sediment controls such as sandbags and sediment fence in place

Building sites are getting the message and improving their environmental performance, according to the latest results of the Get the Site Right sediment control campaign.

The campaign saw council and EPA officers conduct more than 1,110 inspections of building sites along the Parramatta River, Central Coast, Cooks River and Georges River in the May 2019 blitz and found that 748 (63 per cent) of sites were compliant, a 13 per cent improvement on last year’s figures.

For the non-compliances, a total of $290,700 in fines was issued for sites that failed to follow the rules.

“Sediment is not a small problem – up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm if the proper containment measures are not in place,” EPA Regional Metropolitan Director, Giselle Howard, said.

“When that sediment hits the waterways, it can destroy aquatic habitats and smother native plants and animals.

Get the Site Right is working to stop sediment runoff to improve water quality. A great side-effect of this work is that more waterways can potentially become safe for swimming.”

Get the Site Right is a joint program 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, Industry and Environment, and local councils.

Georges Riverkeeper Manager, Beth Salt, said the growth in the campaign meant that construction companies were more aware of the rules and the environment was benefiting as a result.

“More councils are signing on every year and more sites are being inspected – this means more companies are aware of the rules and we can stop sediment runoff and pollution before it becomes a problem,” she said.

“Ideally we want to see 100 per cent compliance but the improvement from year to year means the message is getting through and our waterways are getting cleaner.”

Members of the public can report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555. More information on erosion and sediment control is available at:

Participating agencies included: Bayside Council, Blacktown City Council, Burwood Council, Campbelltown City Council, City of Canada Bay, City of Canterbury Bankstown, City of Parramatta, City of Ryde, City of Willoughby, Cumberland City Council, Hunters Hill Council, Inner West Council, Lake Macquarie City Council, Liverpool City Council, North Sydney Council, Northern Beaches Council, Strathfield Municipal Council, Sutherland Shire Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Campaign summary stats:

  • 1,182 inspections took place
  • 748 (63%) sites were compliant
  • 433 (37%) were non-compliant
  • $290,700 of fines were issued
  • 13% improvement in compliance from May 2018 campaign