Erosion & Sedimentation

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Affects of erosion and sedimentationphoto of lack of sediment control and erosion

Erosion, caused by either wind or water, is common in areas that have been cleared of vegetation, are on steep slopes, or are close to waterways. Soil erosion by water also causes the additional problem of sedimentation of waterways, as soils are washed into creeks and stormwater drains during rain. Wind erosion is of particular concern within sand dune and beach environments.

Erosion of sediments and sediment runoff from construction and building sites has the potential to enter our stormwater systems and eventually natural waterways.  Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act it is illegal to pollute or cause or permit pollution of waters.  This can include the placing of materials where it is likely to be washed or blown into waters or the stormwater system, or percolate into the groundwater.

Excessive sediment in waterways damages fish health and smothers in-stream habitats. It blocks stormwater systems and leads to road hazards and localised flooding. It causes sediment plumes off our recreational beaches and reduces water quality, which affects ALL aquatic life, including important seagrass communities at the bottom of the food web. Erosion also releases soil nutrients which are transported by sediment into the waterways. These nutrients fuel excessive algal growth. This form of pollution is preventable and can be managed by using the appropriate erosion and sediment controls.

We also have some useful information on our stormwater management page.

Development control and enforcement

Council places conditions on development approvals to minimise the likelihood of erosion and sediment problems associated with developing a site.  This is through the requirements for the inclusion of a Soil and Water Management Plan (SWMP) with a development application.

Our sediment and erosion control brochure provides some helpful tips.

Our Environmental Health Officers and Ranger Service officers investigate complaints received relating to erosion and sedimentation. Clean-up notices, prevention notices or penalty infringement notices for offences may be issued by these officers under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.