Businesses should make sure that any erosion and sediment from their activities doesn’t impact the local community. This includes being responsible for contractors or tradespeople they may hire. 

Erosion happens when wind or water wears away surface soil. Erosion can lead to a build-up of soil, rock and gravel in waterways and drains. We call this build-up sediment.

Erosion and sediment can cause pollution and contamination. Examples include when chemicals and pollutants in sediments enter streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries. Sediment can cause the water to be murky, lowering oxygen content.

Business activities that expose bare soil or that take place on exposed soil increase the potential for erosion and sediment to occur. Examples of activities that can do this include: 

  • building and maintaining roads, rail, bridges, utilities, drainage, embankments and clay dams 
  • rehabilitating land  
  • excavating material, stockpiling, handling and transferring 
  • managing catchments.  

Some examples of businesses that need to manage erosion and sediment include: 

Why eliminating or reducing erosion and sediment is important

Erosion and sediment can cause many things if it is not appropriately managed, including: 

  • poor air quality created by airborne dust 
  • damage to native plants 
  • pollution in waterways resulting in harm to water quality and aquatic animals 
  • the build-up of sediment in waterways which changes the flow capacity, causing conditions that could bring about floods and further erosion. 

Eliminating or reducing the risks of harm in a structured way will help you: 

Not eliminating or reducing your environmental risk could mean you face cleanup costs, lost work time, legal fees, fines and criminal charges.

Erosion and sediment and your duties

Businesses should make sure that erosion and sediment caused or generated by their activities does not harm human health or the environment. This includes being responsible for contractors or tradespeople you may hire.  

You have obligations to: 

You may also need to meet specific conditions if your activity is a prescribed activity that falls under the permissions scheme. This applies to businesses with a licence, permit or registration.    

You should also check if you need to comply with any requirements set by local council

Find out how to manage erosion and sediment hazards and risks

Reviewed 22 February 2021