Soil erosion from building, development and construction sites is a major source of stormwater pollution. Erosion and sedimentation (such as soil, sand, silt and mud) washes into our waterways from exposed sites after rain, and can cause both short and long term environmental problems.
The Environmental Protection Act 1994 places a legal responsibility on all persons who cause land disturbance to minimise or prevent environmental harm.
Property developers and other development industry members, such as consultants and contractors, are also subject to requirements under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. This includes development conditions requiring adequate erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures to be implemented and maintained on construction sites.
Gladstone Regional Council officers randomly inspect development sites and can issue warnings or penalty infringement notices to those that do not comply with these legislative requirements. The maximum penalty for noncompliance of the written notice is $30,000. If harm is wilfully caused to the environment, the maximum penalty can go up to $83,500. Officers can also temporarily shut down developments if the project site fails to ensure adequate sedimentation and erosion control is in place.
Council's approach to ESC
As a result of rapid growth in the Gladstone Region, particularly in and around Gladstone city, Council has embarked on a program designed to improve industry practice on erosion and sediment control (ESC). The program aims to educate residents, businesses, builders and developers about the importance of minimising soil and sediment runoff.
Council has also implemented strategical approaches to mitigate sedimentation and erosion, which include:
- Setting out high standards in new planning schemes;
- Implementing strict conditions on development approvals;
- Allocating adequate resources and training of development assessment officers and enforcement officers;
- Educating development industry and promoting good practices; and
- Strong enforcement with statutory/regulatory tools under the Sustainable Planning Act and the Environmental Protection Act (i.e. warnings, penalty infringement notices, prosecution in case of non-compliance).
Education is our main strategy in managing this problem, providing detailed information and advice to anyone managing erosion issues. Please refer to the following links for more information.
For more information, and tips, on best practice techniques to minimise stormwater pollution click here
Read the section of the Act to which compliance applies:
Visit http://waterbydesign.com.au/factsheets/ which also relates to the Gladstone Region, providing advice, checklist and tips for developers and residents.
Contact Council's Operational Works Unit on (07) 4975 8414 for Council's policies and information about the ongoing audit program.