Water is a scarce and essential natural resource. Conserving and maintaining water quality is especially important in Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent. Preventing or reducing water pollution protects our water quality and is essential to maintaining the health of our environment and our own quality of life.
Everyone should employ correct storm water management to ensure that storm water runoff originating from their property is of a quality that ensures downstream environmental values and water quality objectives are protected or enhanced.
If a person or company does not take appropriate erosion and sediment control measures, they can receive on-the-spot fines. Prosecution and court penalties for major development and environmental offences may exceed one million dollars.
Interesting facts about water
- Less than 1.5% of the Earth's total supply of water is accessible fresh water.
- Every year, polluted water kills more than 24 million people in the developing world. Most of those killed are children.
- Industry is only one source of water pollution. Other sources include sewage treatment plants, households, streets and footpaths.
- Sediment and soil erosion from building and development sites is major source of water pollution.
- Individuals pollute water by littering (including cigarette butts), pouring oils down drains and using chemicals on their gardens. These pollutants are then washed or blown into stormwater drains and local waterways.
Council only has jurisdiction to act on certain complaints, and shares the responsibility of water pollution issues with other government bodies. Please refer to the information below which outlines authorities for various water pollution types.
- Local road or waterway - Occurring on residential land and some commercial land - Contact Council for further clarification.
- Main road, highway or motorway - Contact your local office of the Department of Transport and Main Roads
- Major waterway (e.g. river, broadwater, ocean, bay) - Contact your local office of Maritime Safety Queensland.
- Less than 50 fish - Contact Council for further clarification.
- 50 or more fish - Contact your local office of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Release of contaminants
- Rubbish, cement, oil, paint etc. - Contact Council for further clarification.
- Bilge water (boat) - Contact your local office of Maritime Safety Queensland.
- Soil and sediment from a building or development site – Contact Council for further clarification. In addition to responsibilities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, property developers and contractors are subject to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. They may have conditions on their approval about sediment and erosion control.
Lodging a Service Request
If you see sediment, building waste or plant matter entering the storm water system or waterway, you can lodge a Service Request to Council by phoning (07) 4189 9100 and the issue will be investigated.
If your request is in regards to pollution and sediment from a State Government or Council development site, contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 1300 130 372.