Builders in firing line

Article image - Builders in firing line Get the site right blitz protects waterways from sediment build up.

Home builders and renovators were the focus of last month’s Get the Site Right blitz, targeting erosion and sediment control on building and construction sites in Canterbury-Bankstown and greater Sydney.

The campaign is an initiative involving New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Department of Planning and Environment, and more than 20 councils, including Canterbury Bankstown.

Mayor, Khal Asfour, said home builders and renovators are required to adhere to strict soil and sediment control plans when undertaking work.

“There are no excuses for builders not to be aware of their responsibilities. It is the law and if they break the rules, they can face fines up to $8,000.

“This is about protecting our waterways because if soil and sediment control plans are not followed, water quality suffers and that impacts thousands of people.”

In the most recent blitz in November 2018, 51 sites were inspected in Canterbury-Bankstown, with 29 percent found to be compliant on the first visit. Following further education, the follow-up visit saw another 49 percent meet the requirements.

EPA Regional Metropolitan Director, Giselle Howard, said Get the Site Right focuses on minimising environmental harm.

“Up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm, damaging vital aquatic ecosystems, so it is crucial that developers are putting the right control systems in place.

She added While Get the Site Right was a targeted compliance blitz that included the issuing of fines, the focus is on prevention as the cure. 

“We want developers and builders to stop the sediment leaving their site boundaries in the first place, by putting the appropriate erosion and sediment controls in place.”