The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking assistance as the clean-up of the state’s shorelines and rivers commences after recent flood and storm weather events.
EPA Director Incident Management and Environmental Health Arminda Ryan said the recent extreme wet weather conditions in NSW had a significant impact on water quality and safety at our rivers and beaches and urged the community to be careful of debris in the water and to report large waste build up on public land to the EPA or local council.
“In many areas across the state large amounts of debris has washed up on shorelines or is still floating or submerged within our waterways,” Ms Ryan said.
“Our beaches, riversides and low-lying areas such as parks have been left with parts of destroyed caravans, cars, shipping containers, mattresses, fridges, gas bottles and chemical drums.”
Ms Ryan said the EPA has worked closely with Fire and Rescue NSW, Maritime Services and the National Parks and Wildlife Service to plan the clean-up of shorelines and beaches. The EPA has engaged a contractor to conduct an initial assessment and priority response to shoreline and river clean up and that Emergency Operation Centres and councils will be asked to nominate areas for priority clean-up.
“The clean-up around waterways will be a coordinated effort and the EPA welcomes assistance in planning and prioritising what will be a widespread operation.
“This includes assistance from the community who can report pollution caused by floods on their local rivers and beaches.”
Ms Ryan said this clean-up covers a significant area and asked for patience from the community during the process.
“This is going to take time and we ask people to be patient but more importantly ask them to remain safe.
“The community is encouraged to avoid beaches and waterways impacted by storm and flood runoff and to avoid contact with hazardous materials and unidentified items near and in the water.”
If you’re unsure about the safety of swimming at your local beach or swimming spot, check the Beachwatch website at https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/beachmapp/, speak to the lifeguards on duty or give the local council a call.