Ongoing education and enforcement of sediment controls on building sites key to protecting Sydney’s waterways


Results from the October Get the Site Right inspection blitz day show that compliance rates on construction and building sites are holding steady following the significant improvements seen in the June campaign.

The results are encouraging in light of the recent rainfall surge experienced across Sydney and parts of eastern Australia and increase in building and renovation projects since the start of COVID-19.

Twenty-one councils across Sydney and the Hunter Coast and the NSW Environment Protection Authority took part in the one-day blitz with officers inspecting almost 600 building and construction sites for sediment and runoff controls.

Of the sites inspected, 74 per cent were compliant, up 1 per cent from the June campaign. A total of $97,897 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites. Offences ranged from poorly stabilised site access, unapproved concrete pours and the inappropriate storage of building materials.

Get the Site Right targets erosion and sediment control on building and construction sites and highlights the impact of sediment-laden runoff on our waterways. It 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), Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), and local councils.

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Steve Beaman, said the consistent compliance rate was reassuring, given the continuing wet weather forecast for coming months.

“Building materials such as sand and soil that are not properly contained can be blown or washed off a site into stormwater drains and out to our local waterways,” Mr Beaman said.

“Sediment runoff can harm aquatic life, erode creeks and riverbanks and damage stormwater infrastructure.

“During this period of wet weather, it’s even more important that builders and developers use the right erosion and sediment controls to prevent runoff leaving their site.”

Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) Chair, Councillor Mark Drury, said the positive results highlight the importance of the Get the Site Right campaign in encouraging and supporting councils to conduct regular inspections and educate developers and builders on the role they play in protecting our waterways.

“With an increase in construction expected over the next 12 months due to the government stimulus packages for builders and renovators, raising awareness of the harmful impact of sediment runoff on our rivers and creeks is still needed,” Cr Drury said.

“Get the Site Right continues to demonstrate how catchment groups, councils and the EPA are working together to achieve sustainable benefits for the community and environment.”

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.

/Public Release.