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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 called sedimentation.

Erosion and sedimentation’s risks to human health and the environment include:

  • airborne dust
  • damage to native plants
  • harm to aquatic animals
  • polluting waterways
  • making conditions that bring about floods.

These activities can increase the risk of erosion and sedimentation:

  • exposing bare soil or working on exposed soil
  • major road, building and rail works
  • land rehabilitation
  • digging works
  • water catchment management.

Industry has a duty to reduce the risk of erosion and sedimentation. Failure to do this can result in EPA enforcement.

Our industry guide explains how to reduce erosion and sedimentation. The guide covers:

Read next

About EPA’s erosion and sedimentation guidance

Erosion and sedimentation risk assessment 

Preventing erosion and sedimentation 

Responding to erosion and sedimentation 

Other erosion and sedimentation factors 


Reviewed 28 October 2019