Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) CEO Lee Miezis says responsibility for managing waste on construction sites does not only lie with the builder and that land developers also play a part.
“The people who hire the builder should also take an active interest in how their site is being run and if they see that pollution is being allowed to occur because construction waste, particularly expanded polystyrene used for waffle slabs or white goods packaging, hasn’t been properly secured, they should intervene,” said Mr Miezis.
There is a general increase in building activity across the state and builders and land developers are subject to the duties of the new Environment Protection Act 2017, including the General Environmental Duty, and they must control and prevent potential pollution risks from their sites.
“This includes simple actions like preventing sediment run off from the site so that it is not discharged to stormwater drains or local waterways, ensuring any noise is within the permitted times (7am to 6pm), notifying EPA of any pollution incidents and identifying any contaminated land is appropriately reported to EPA and managed,” said Mr Miezis.
“Sites should also be managing any litter they create. That can often be as simple as making sure the skip bin lid is closed and that waffle slab styrene is properly tethered on site before being secured in the concrete pour. EPA has been vigilant for some time on this issue. We have and will enforce compliance which could lead to heavy penalties for anyone that fails to comply.”
EPA has been in frequent contact with the construction industry and has published the Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) for people whose role involves site planning or environmental management in supporting activities and projects of all scales and complexity.
It will help builders and land developers manage their environmental and public health obligations, such as:
• Noise and vibration – scheduling works, community consultation, managing noise and vibration at the source, and managing noise using offsite controls
• Erosion, sediment and dust – managing stormwater flows, minimising dust, managing stockpiles and working within waterways
• Contaminated land and groundwater – identifying presence of contaminated land, and preventing contamination of stormwater and groundwater
• Chemical storage and handling – managing storage and handling of liquid and solid chemicals, spill response and cleanup, and managing volatile liquids
• Waste – managing different types of waste, storage, collection, transport and removal.