As the long weekend approaches, many NSW residents are planning home renovations or improvements – with many more likely to take up government stimulus packages for home renovations once the details are confirmed by the cabinet – the EPA is warning homeowners to be vigilant in their approach to health, environmental and safety concerns.
The ‘Get the Site Right’ campaign has launched, aiming to increase awareness of the dangers that runoff from building sites can cause to local environments. The NSW EPA has confirmed that it will be monitoring developments of all sizes and types across NSW, regardless of when they began, across the month of June.
The campaign is a joint program that brings together the resources of the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and local councils.
This will be the fifth consecutive year of the campaign.
Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Environment has explained that even small sites can affect the health of the local environment.
“Whether you’re a home renovator who’s laying new paving or a developer building a 20-storey apartment block, it’s important that you prevent runoff from leaving your site,” Mr Kean said.
“When sediments such as sand or soil and other building materials are washed down stormwater drains and into our waterways, it not only degrades water quality it can destroy aquatic habitats by smothering native plants and animals that live there.
“It also can block stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows.”
Paramatta River Catchment Group Chair, Councilor Mark Drury explained the importance of vigilance on sites of all sizes.
“Builders and renovators need to be aware that their actions can have a significant impact on the health of our local rivers and creeks. Get the Site Right is an important part of our ongoing strategy to manage the environmental impacts of construction to help achieve our mission to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025,” Cr Drury said.
“Every building site, regardless of size, must ensure they have controls in place to help improve river health for the entire community and the benefit of the environment.”
Minister Kean has also reinforced the importance of asbestos safety in light of the rise in DIY projects.“You can’t always tell what products contain asbestos just by looking,’’ Mr Kean said.
“We want homeowners to make use of Government’s Asbestos Finder asbestos.nsw.gov.auor arrange an assessment from a licensed asbestos assessor before starting a renovation to best protect your family, neighbours and the wider community,”
“Checking before you start will keep you and your family safe.”