Brisbane City Council
Urban Management Division level 5, BAC
69 Ann Street
PO Box 1434
Brisbane Qld 4001
Telephone 07 3403 4981 Facsimile 07 3403 9456
TO: Mark Williamson,
Coordinator Licensing and Compliance
FROM: Andre Taylor
Principal Waterways Program Officer
DATE 22 Feb 99
SUBJECT Erosion and Sediment Control
As requested, David Stephenson and 1 met with Mr Barry Wilson on 4 February 1999 to discuss Council's approach to erosion and sediment control. During this meeting it was reiterated that only highest priority erosion and sediment control issues should be brought to the attention of Council, so that limited resources would be used efficiently. Several other policy issues were discussed, the outcomes of which are summarised below.
Mr Wilson indicated that DRS Officers have stated to him that if a Developer is implementing an approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan/Program, then the Developer is effectively exempt from any enforcement action if the controls are not in the right place and/or they are not being maintained. I have consulted with Legal Services on this matter (Robert Milne). Robert suggested that in practical terms, if the Developer is complying with an approved Plan, then the use of an on-the-spot fine would not be appropriate. I interpret Robert to be saying that if an approved Plan is fully implemented, but inadequate (e.g. controls are in the wrong place and sediment is leaving the site), we should not issue an on-the-spot fine. Clearly however, if controls are not being maintained it is a different issue, as the Developer should not be fully complying with the Plan, as inspection and maintenance of controls should always be a component of any approved Plan.
For me, this advice sends two messages:
- DRS needs to ensure that when we approve an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, the Plan includes commitments to adequately maintain control structures and also to modify the location and/or type of controls if the planned controls fail to prevent significant quantities of sediment from leaving the site during typical wet weather events.
- DRS needs to ensure that field staff understand that on-the-spot fines can be used for sites with approved Erosion and Sediment Control Plan/Program if they are not fully complying with the Plan (e.g. not maintaining all control structures).
- Mr Wilson suggested that Council Officers could issue on-the-spot fines to contractors working on State Government projects (e.g. the Gabba redevelopment project). Consultation with senior EPA Officers (e.g. Jennelle Bryant) has however indicated that the latest Memorandum of Understanding between the DEHIEPA and Councils with on-the-spot fining powers clearly prevents Councils from issuing fines to contractors working on State Government projects (as well as State Government bodies and State-managed Environmentally Relevant Activities). I will communicate this finding to Mr Wilson.
One recommendation from the meeting was for DRS staff to include Erosion and Sediment Control as a standard agenda item as a part of all pre-start meetings for major developments. This opportunity should be used to warn developers that:
- all erosion and sediment controls must be inspected at least weekly and within 24 hours of every significant rain event;
- if planned controls are found to be inadequate, the onus is on the developer to take reasonable and practicable action to remedy the situation; and
- Council may take enforcement action if the approved Plan is not fully implemented and reasonable and practicable actions are not being taken on the site at all times to minimise the off-site migration of sediment.
If you agree with these comments, can you please communicate them to the relevant areas of DRS. If not, please contact me on ext. 39402 to discuss areas of concern.
Principal Waterways Program Officer - Water Quality
David Stephenson - for information
Rodney Ringe - for information
Denis Verner - for information.
Mark Taylor - for information.
This page is maintained by
The Rivermouth Action Group Inc
as a community service.