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Inspection Blitz to bring wildlife and swimmers back to Sydney’s rivers

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General news
Media Release - 16 May 2018

A month-long campaign targeting sediment run-off at Sydney and Central Coast construction sites is running in May, with dozens of compliance officers set to inspect building sites, including sites in the Cumberland Council area, with the aim of improving the quality of Sydney’s waterways and bringing wildlife and swimmers back to the city’s harbours and rivers.

In May 2018, the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Department of Planning & Environment, and over 20 councils including Cumberland Council will join forces for a fourth Get the Site Right compliance and education campaign.

Mayor Greg Cummings welcomed the coordinated approach to tackle sediment run-off. “The development of Sydney into a world class city owes a lot to our waterways, from small streams like Duck River to major tributaries like the Parramatta River,” Mayor Cummings said.

“To restore all our waterways into pristine natural assets requires local Councils, state agencies and community organisations to work across traditional boundaries.”

Now in its third year, the month-long campaign targets erosion and sediment control on building and construction sites across Sydney and the Central Coast. It also aims to raise awareness about the effects of sediment laden run-off on our waterways.

Results from the November 2017 campaign showed a steady improvement in compliance rates from the previous campaign held last May.

NSW EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said sediment run-off was an often-overlooked issue that could have significant impacts on the environment.

“Everyone in Sydney wants to see our waterways return to a condition where aquatic life can thrive and residents can swim,” Ms Howard said.

“Sediment laden run-off might seem like a small problem limited to gutters and stormwater drains, but when that run-off hits our waterways it not only affects the water quality and amenity, but it smothers aquatic vegetation, clogs fish gills, and can even block waterways entirely during storms and floods.

“While Get the Site Right is a targeted compliance blitz that will include the issuing of fines, what we’re focused on is 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.”

Members of the public can report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555. More information on erosion and sediment control is available at: www.ourlivingriver.com.au/getthesiteright