Earthmoving News, New South Wales, Sustainability

Inspection blitz to target NSW construction waste

Construction wasted disposal bin used at the construction site.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will kick off a waste inspection blitz of construction sites across the state on Thursday 18 May, with more than 20 councils participating.

The one-day blitz comes as part of the Get the Site Right campaign, which aims to remind builders and developers of the critical role they play in reducing environmental impacts on NSW waterways.

The construction industry generates more than 12 million tonnes of waste annually. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020 saw construction activities generate the second largest amount of solid waste in Australia, behind manufacturing.

While much of this waste is produced by construction and demolition activities, a considerable amount comes from building supply packaging materials and food and drink containers.

EPA Acting Executive Director Regulatory Operations Arminda Ryan said poorly managed construction waste can have serious environmental impacts.

“Incorrectly contained waste can be blown or washed off sites, blocking stormwater infrastructure and impacting our creeks, rivers and harbours,” she said.

“Plastic litter, soil, and other waste carried off building sites can cause harm to aquatic life, contribute to flooding and algal growth and increase human health risks in foreshore areas.

“Correctly disposing of litter and waste and putting robust erosion and sediment controls in place not only prevents these risks but is a vital way to meet the NSW EPA’s litter reduction targets.”

Parramatta River Catchment Group Chair, Mark Drury, said that the plan to open four more swimming and recreational sites on the Parramatta River over the next few years was dependent on continued efforts to improve water quality.

“In addition to sediment runoff, litter from building sites that enters local waterways can impede our ability to achieve a clean, safe and swimmable river,” he said.

“Get the Site Right remains an important part of our ongoing strategy to manage the environmental impacts of construction on waterway health.

“The construction industry has an important role to play in reducing the amount of litter and waste generated on sites and protecting waterways by adopting sustainable resources and building practices.”

Builders and developers are required to correctly contain and dispose of litter and other waste as part of a waste management plan for their site, in addition to their comprehensive erosion and sediment control plans. Failing to do so can attract fines ranging from $8000 to $15,000 per offence.

Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, local councils, Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and WaterNSW.

The 18 May campaign blitz will be followed up by another inspection blitz week in October 2023.


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