Stormwater pollution is a major problem in the Hunters Hill local area. The construction of roads, footpaths, driveways and other hard surfaces has changed the way water flows through the Hunters Hill catchment. These changes can have a range of adverse impacts.
Poor water quality and degraded aquatic ecosystem health in rivers and creeks impacts on the quality of our beaches and coastal areas we all like to enjoy. Altered stormwater flow can change the pattern of flow in streams and rivers impacting on fish and other marine life.
Council is attempting to reduce the impact we have on the natural waterways by educating residents in problem areas and implementing strategies to better manage the urban catchment and stormwater infrastructure.
By managing what we put onto hard surfaces and into drains we can reduce the frequency and magnitude of localised flooding events and improve the water quality of Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers that border the Hunters Hill Peninsula.
Did you know that it is an offence to place material in the gutter? Rainwater that falls and collects in the gutter, otherwise known as stormwater, is protected under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 – Sect 120. In this section it is prohibited for a person to pollute ‘any waters’.
Any ‘prescribed matter’ as identified in schedule 5 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 (which includes any leaves, grass, sawdust, soil, sand, dog poo, oil and paints) that is “placing or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto the waters (whether through an act or omission) any matter, whether solid, liquid or gaseous” into any drain, channel or gutter used or designed to receive or pass rainwater is classed as an offence.
A person who is guilty of such an offence may receive a penalty notice for the offence consisting of a fine of $4,000 for individuals or $8,000 for corporations.
It is NOT acceptable to sweep material in the gutter for the street sweeper to collect. Operating on a fortnightly basis, the street sweeper cannot mitigate the environmental impact polluted stormwater can have on our natural waterways.
The following actions can be used as an alternative to sweeping material into the gutter:
General waste can be swept up from the footpath or road and placed into your weekly-collected Red-Lid garbage bin.
Garden vegetation and leaves from trees can be swept up and placed in your Green Lid Vegetation bin. If you don’t have a green bin you can request a new service by downloading the form from the bottom of the waste management page.
Composting is natural and inexpensive. It’s great for soil and the garden. Compost bins can be purchased from Bunnings.
If all else fails you can sweep fallen leaves into piles on the nature strip or to the base of trees in your garden or on the nature strip.
It is not illegal to sweep up leaves off the footpath but it is illegal to place them in the gutter once they have been swept up.
Please be aware of your environmental and legal responsibilities within the community. The Council Ranger has been instructed to be on the lookout for offenders.
If you witness any one committing such an offence please report it to the Council Ranger on 9879 9400.
Did you know that up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm if not properly contained? If sediment such as soil, sand, dirt and mud are not properly managed on building sites they can directly pollute our river and cause severe environmental problems, making it less safe for people to use.
If you are building or renovating a home, submission of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required before works begin and the plan must be adhered to. There are rules that developers need to follow to contain and manage sediment on their work site in a responsible manner. It is against the law to breach these rules. Local councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority have the power to issue penalties from $8000 to $15,000 for each incident.
Non-compliance by your builders can result in fines being levied against the property owner for each incident.
Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Parramatta River Catchment Group of which Hunters Hill Council is a member, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and Department of Planning and Environment, and more than 20 Sydney councils. We are working together to target developers and enforce best practice on commercial and residential building sites, as well as major infrastructure projects, to protect our waterways and surrounding environments.
How sediment spills affect our environment and waterways:
Report all pollution incidents by calling the NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or contacting your local council.
Refer to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority website for more information https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/
WE ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN PROTECTING SYDNEY’S WATERWAYS
22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400
8:30am – 4.30pm
Customer Service phone lines open 8.00am – 5.00pm
(02) 9879 9400
1300 136 460