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Environment Protection Authority

Compliance blitz to target Parramatta River building sites

Media release: 1 May 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning and Environment, and local councils will join forces for a soil and erosion control blitz at construction sites around Parramatta River throughout May.

Developments of all sizes will be inspected as part of the blitz, ranging from small home renovations to large apartment estates and road developments.

The ‘Get the Site Right’ initiative is part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025, and highlights the role that developers and builders play in cleaning up the river.

A healthy Parramatta River needs healthy plant and animal life. One of the greatest dangers of sediment when it reaches the river is the smothering effect on aquatic life.

Developers are required by law to contain and manage sediment on their work site. Non-compliance can lead to fines from $8,000 to $15,000 for each incident.

A similar blitz conducted last October found that over 50 per cent of sites inspected were not managing their environmental controls adequately and more than $127,000 in fines were issued.

Last year’s investigations revealed sites with no sediment controls in place, collapsed fencing, sediment bags showing wear-and-tear and leaking, and inadequate containment of sediment stockpiles.

Councils will be out in force throughout May across the Blacktown, Parramatta, Cumberland, Ryde, Hunters Hill, Canada Bay, Hills Shire, Strathfield, Inner West and Burwood local government areas.

The EPA encourages residents and Parramatta River users to report pollution to the Environment Line number 131 555. Guidelines on sediment and erosion control are at www.ourlivingriver.com.au.

QUOTES

NSW EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Branch Ms Giselle Howard said erosion and sediment from construction sites poses a major threat to the river and environment, if not properly managed.

“We support development but we want it done properly. With the rapid construction and development taking place all around Parramatta River, sediment can run off building sites into stormwater drains and straight into the river,” Ms Howard said.

“This runoff pollutes the river with soil, sand and mud, which can smother native plants and animals that live in these waterways and destroy their habitats. Stormwater drains blocked by sediment can also lead to overflows and flooding.

“That’s why this compliance blitz is so important. We’re excited to be working with local councils to raise awareness with developers and the community about the effects of sediment laden runoff, and we will take regulatory action as required.

Parramatta River Catchment Group Chair Clr Jerome Laxale said the compliance campaign reflects the changing landscape of the Parramatta River.

“As residential development replaces the old industrial sites along the river, there is increasing demand for a quality river where people can safely swim,” Clr Laxale said. 

“‘Get the Site Right’ is a great example of how the member authorities of the PRCG are working together to protect the treasure that is the Parramatta River.

“It is a major issue, and we won’t have it solved in a month. Our joint taskforce is committed to ongoing action to ensure we achieve our 2025 mission to swim in the river”, said Clr Laxale.

 “The community also has a key role to play, by letting the EPA or local Council know if they see a site that doesn’t look right.”

 

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 01 May 2017