Managing Stormwater from Building Sites

Both property owners and builders are responsible for controlling soil erosion and preventing sediment from being washed into stormwater drains.

Soil and sediment from building sites can be a major source of pollution in our waterways. When washed into stormwater drains, sediment is eventually deposited in our creeks, rivers and harbour. This sediment can carry nutrients and other pollutants, impacting the health of our local waterways.

Under Section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, heavy fines may be imposed if a person allows soil, earth, mud, clay, concrete washings or similar material to be washed, or likely to be washed, into stormwater drains. On the spot fines of $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for corporations can be issued.

Pollution prevention measures

Building sites should adopt the following measures to prevent pollution:

  • Install sediment fencing along the low side of the site
  • Restrict vehicle access to one stable entry and exit point and minimise on-site vehicle activity during wet weather or when the site is muddy
  • Retain grass cover and natural vegetation where possible
  • Mulch or revegetate disturbed areas as soon as possible 
  • Divert stormwater around the work site
  • Ensure that stockpiles of sand, gravel, soil and similar materials are located so that material does not spill onto the road or pavement and cannot be washed into roadways, drainage lines, depressions or watercourses
  • Cover stockpiles from rain and wind
  • Sweep the footpath and road to remove accidental spills of soil or other materials from the roadway and gutter
  • Connect downpipes from the guttering to the stormwater drain as soon as the roof is installed


Council’s Development Control Plan requires an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan be prepared by a suitably qualified consultant in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Managing Urban Stormwater, Soils and Construction manual and submitted with the development application.    

Council officers regularly undertake inspections to ensure that appropriate controls are in place.

Get the Site Right

The ‘‘Get the Site Right’ program is a partnership between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning and Environment, and more than 20 Sydney councils. The program aims to protect our waterways by encouraging best practice soil erosion and sediment controls on building sites across NSW.

You can report pollution incidents to the NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or contact Council at