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THE construction industry is being urged to keep it clean in the Douglas Shire under an ongoing push to reduce sediment run-off into our healthy waterways.

Heading into the wet season, Douglas Shire Council is working with Water by Design to improve erosion and sediment control practices in the community and increase compliance with the Environmental Protection Act.

Council’s Environmental Health Leader Louise Stayte said using a free builders’ online toolkit was an easy way to control your work site and comply with the EP Act.

“Builders and contractors can find a link to an online toolkit on Council’s website and use these resources help us keep our waterways healthy,” she said.

“By following the checklists, not only can you save time and money by not having to clean up your work sites, you also reduce the likelihood of complaints and improve your relationship with the community.”

A site owner was recently fined $15,000 in the Mossman Magistrates Court for breaching the EP Act during works in Port Douglas in March last year. (See above photos)

Due to the individual’s failure to control their site, rainfall caused red soil to fill gutters and cover walkways in Macrossan Street over a three-week period.

DSC’s Environmental Health team successfully pursued the case after continued non-compliance by the offender.

An Erosion and Sediment Control Systems Review was recently completed for the Council.

This review evaluated local erosion and sediment control practices on construction sites and assessed areas of improvement.

Council’s Sustainability Officer Ada Pasanen said improving sediment and erosion control practices was a practical, fair and cost-effective strategy to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

“The environmental impacts of sediments in waterways can be significant,” she said.

“Sediments carry nutrients and pollutants, cause turbidity (cloudiness/murkiness of water) which reduces light and can affect seagrass, coral and marine animals, if present for extended periods.”

More information about sediment and erosion control here

Have you got it covered?

Why is sediment a problem?

  • Soil particles washed off the land into our waterways are called sediment, which contain pollutants and reduce water quality. This threatens the many social and economic benefits our waterways provide including recreation, tourism and at some cases the security of our drinking water supply.
  • The environmental impacts are also significant, with sediment smothering aquatic plants, such as seagrass, reducing the amount of food available to marine animals and impacting fisheries.

Benefits for builders:

  • Saves time and money by not having to clean up sediment or replace lost materials after rain.
  • Reduces the likelihood of a fine or prosecution for polluting the environment.
  • Reduces complaints related to dust and stormwater pollution.
  • Improves relationships and trust with the local council and the community.
  • Promotes and associates your business with protecting the environment.
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