Inspection blitz to put Sydney building sites on notice

Building sites across nearly two-thirds of Sydney will be under the microscope for environmental compliance in the upcoming Get the Site Right compliance blitz day.

On Tuesday, 21 November 2017 the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), NSW Department of Planning and Environment and more than 20 local councils will be out in force, inspecting developments of all sizes from small home renovations to large apartment estates and major road construction. The inspections will be looking to ensure the building sites are taking all required measures to manage sediment and prevent runoff entering local waterways.

The blitz day is part of the month-long Get the Site Right campaign that was launched by the Parramatta River Catchment Group in 2016. The November 2017 campaign has been bolstered with the participation of the Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee and the Sydney Coastal Councils Group.

Sediment laden run-off from building sites poses a major threat to waterways and surrounding environments if not properly managed. Sediment reduces waterway amenity, stops light reaching aquatic vegetation or directly smothers it, clogs fish gills and blocks waterways during times of storm and flood.

On the last blitz day held in May 22017, over 50 per cent of those sites inspected were found to be non-compliant. Six months onsite inspectors will hope to see improved practices amongst developers, who will face fines of up to $15,000 if they’re found to fall short of the required environmental controls.

EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Branch Giselle Howard said it is vital that developers ensure they are implementing best practice environmental controls.

“Significant development and construction are underway in many parts of Sydney, and it’s important that all these works are being conducted in line with the environmental rules,” Ms Howard said.

By law and through environment protection licences, developers are required to enact erosion and sediment control measures at their sites, and to adhere to these requirements throughout the construction process.

“The aim of the blitz day is not to issue hundreds of fines but to ensure compliance- at the end of the day, we want to ensure Sydney’s waterways are protected,” Ms Howard said.

“With so many councils now involved in the blitz, we hope that developers and the community will take note and remember the rules when it comes to controlling sediment and run-off.”

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

Source: NSW EPA

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