Building sites on notice as NSW govt announces ‘inspection blitz’

By Melissa Coade

Monday April 19, 2021

There will be building site inspections across Sydney and the Hunter Coast in May. (Image: Adobe/Unkas Photo)

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) will be undertaking building site inspections across Sydney and the Hunter Coast next month as part of an education and compliance program.

The inspections are part of a campaign called ‘get the site right’ to advise builders and renovators on best practice methods to deal with erosion and sediment controls.

According to Steve Beaman, the NSW EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, most people fail to understand what happens to sediment run-off when it enters storm water systems. Unlike wastewater that is collected and treated once it goes down sinks, toilets and drains, storm water goes straight into local waterways. 

“Stormwater is rainwater that collects pollutants, including sediment from building sites, as it runs across different surfaces and flows through the stormwater collection network of gutters, pipes and stormwater drains and then directly out to local waterways, untreated,” Mr Beaman said.

“That is why it is so  important that builders and renovators prevent sediment run-off from leaving their sites to protect local waterways and the surrounding environment.”

The ‘get the site right’ campaign targets building sites as one of the main sources of unwitting waterways pollution. The program has been running for six years as a joint initiative of the Cooks River Alliance, DPIE, Georges Riverkeeper, the EPA, Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, local Sydney councils and Lake Macquarie Council.

For Mark Drury, chair councillor of the Parramatta River Catchment Group, the aim of reducing run-off pollutants and improving stormwater infrastructure is important. He said they are goals the campaign shared with the Paramatta River masterplan. 

“Repairing and maintaining stormwater infrastructure due to blockages from run-off can be very costly for councils and Sydney Water so we’re working closely with them and other government agencies to reduce sediment run-off and other source pollution,” Mr Drury said. 

Local councils in NSW will be assisting the state government agencies  to undertake the site visits on 20 May 2021, in what has been dubbed an ‘inspection blitz’.


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