Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

$165,000 in fines following one-day blitz on Parramatta River construction sites

Media release: 16 June 2017

Hundreds of construction sites around the Parramatta River were inspected in a recent blitz on sediment and erosion control, with more than $165,000 worth of fines issued in one day and almost half of sites found to be non-compliant. 

A joint taskforce of 54 compliance officers from the NSW EPA, Department of Planning and Environment and 11 local councils were out in force during a one-day blitz on 24 May, as part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s month-long ‘Get the Site Right’ campaign.

The campaign builds on the efforts of the blitz last October, with the taskforce inspecting more than double the number of sites this year.  The aim is to highlight the important role that developers play in helping protect the river to make it a clean and safe place to swim. 

Inspections were conducted on a range of developments from small home renovations to major road constructions.  The area covered the Parramatta River catchment in the local government areas of Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Hills Shire, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Parramatta, Ryde and Strathfield. 

Offences ranged from no controls in place at all, collapsed fencing, ripped and torn sediment bags, and inadequate containment of sediment stockpiles. Regulatory action included verbal directions, formal warnings, prevention notices and financial penalties, totalling more than $165,000 in fines. Some developers were repeat offenders and were issued fines for water pollution at several of their construction sites.

During the whole month of compliance activities, a total of 439 sites were inspected and $433,140 in fines were issued, with only 51% of these found to be compliant.

The 49 per cent non-compliance rates indicate that more work is needed to educate developers on best practice sediment and erosion control, and the important role this plays in restoring Parramatta River to a clean and safe swimming area.

Councils, the NSW EPA and Department of Planning and Environment will continue to monitor developments in their area, targeting offending sites and issuing fines to ensure they ‘Get the Site Right.’

Community members are encouraged to report pollution incidents by calling the Environment Line number 131 555. 

Quotes: 

NSW EPA Regional Director Metropolitan, Ms Giselle Howard, said sediment run-off continues to be a serious issue for the Parramatta River, which can have a detrimental impact on aquatic plants and animals.

“It’s disappointing to see that the compliance rate hasn’t improved since the last blitz but we won’t stop targeting offenders and working to make the Parramatta River swimmable again,” Ms Howard said.

“Ongoing monitoring and education is crucial to help developers and the community understand their role in protecting the Parramatta River” 

“We look forward to continuing to work with local councils to raise awareness about the importance of managing soil and erosion control on building sites.”

PRCG Chair, Clr Jerome Laxale, said that the record number of sites inspected is a great achievement and reflects the ongoing commitment by the member authorities of the PRCG to improving compliance rates at construction sites in the Parramatta River catchment area.

“‘Get the Site Right’ is part of a long-term strategy that is working towards delivering a world class, quality river where people can safely swim,” Clr Laxale said.

‘Developers and builders should be on notice that councils will continue to target and fine non-compliant sites to reduce the pollution to the river caused by sediment laden run-off.” 


Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 16 June 2017