Pollution is the release of harmful substances into our surroundings, which impacts on the health of the natural environment. As well as affecting our environment, pollution can also impact on our health and wellbeing. Substances such as litter, sediment, fumes from cars, excessive noise and chemicals are all classified as pollution.
Most pollutants fall under one of four (4) main categories. These are air, water, noise and waste. To reduce the amount of pollution entering the environment, the government has developed the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act.
Reporting a Pollution Problem
In most cases, concerns about pollution should be referred to the source or person causing the problem. The contact telephone numbers on this page should be used when an approach to the person causing the problem has not been, or is unlikely to be successful. To report polluting incidents please refer to the list below. All reports are treated as highly confidential and will be dealt with accordingly.
Great Lakes Council - Ph 02 6591 7222
Great Lakes Council after hours - Ph 0408 652 662
Department of Environment and Climate Change (formerly known as E.P.A.) - Ph 131 555 (24 hrs)
Fire Brigade (emergencies only) - where resources are not available to contain material released in a pollution incident which could potentially threaten public health, property or the environment - Ph 000
Land may become contaminated through exposure from chemicals, oils, asbestos and other substances. Contaminated land may have restrictions as to what may be done with the land. Some types of contamination are required to be removed immediately if they are likely to affect public health or the environment. Contamination remediation is costly, both financially and environmentally and therefore all measures should be taken to prevent contamination. The most effective way is to ensure all waste, liquid and solid is disposed of correctly and does not come into contact with the land. Some activities that may cause contamination include:
|Acid / alkali plant and forumation
||Agricultural / horticultural activities
||Airports and defence works
|Asbestos production and disposal
||Chemicals manufacture and formulation
||Dry cleaning establishments
|Electrical manufacturing and power stations
||Engine, explosive, gas, iron and steel works
|Mining and extractive industries
||Waste storage and treatment
Council is responsible for neighbourhood noise from residences, vehicles used off road, vehicle alarms and sound systems. Most commercial and industrial operations are also controlled by Council. If the noise is occurring after office hours, contact the Police. The Police may also be contacted for noise complaints regarding hotels and licensed premises, motor vehicles on roads and marine vessels. Waterways can also control marine vessel noise.
Time restrictions for neighbourhood noise are as follows:
- Power tools and equipment (powered garden tools, e.g. lawn mowers or leaf blowers, electric or penumatic tools, chainsaws or circular saws, gas or air compressors, swimming pool or spa pumps - time restrictions apply between 8pm and 7am on weekdays and weekends and public holidays between 8pm and 8am;
- Musical instruments and sound equipment (radios, TV's, tape recorders, record or CD players, public address systems or computer games) - time restrictions apply between 12 midnight and 8am everyday;
- Air conditioners - time restrictions apply between 10pm and 7am on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays between 10pm and 8am;
- Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises) - time restrictions apply between 8pm and 7am on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays between 8pm and 8am;
- Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles - time restrictions apply between 8pm and 7am on weekdays and on weekends and public holidays between 8pm and 8am.
Other useful links, documents and fact sheets: Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water - Noise Control.
RAAF Williamstown base operations
The Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown has listed flying schedules on the Air Force website to improve information to local communities.
Water pollution is a major environmental issue within the Great Lakes region which has a long-term negative impact on the health of our local waterways. Water pollution commonly occurs as a result of substances such as sediment, organic matter, chemicals, litter, fertilisers etc. being washed down stormwater drains and street gutters. Designed to flow into nearby waterways, the drainage system is not treated and all pollutants within this system also enter our local creeks, rivers and beaches. This type of water pollution is generally referred to as stormwater pollution. Pollution may also enter our waterways directly from a number of sources such as boats leaking oil, dumping of rubbish, etc. Both these types of pollution have a negative effect on the health of our local waterways.
As water pollution originates from the everyday activities we carry out at home, work and play, we all have an important role to play in preventing water pollution. Council is currently undertaking a number of initiatives to assist residents, businesses and industry in reducing water pollution as well as planning for future development (Stormwater Management Plans) and installing stormwater improvement devices.
Wood Smoke Pollution
During the winter, the smoke from domestic wood heaters causes a lot of air pollution. Wood smoke pollution affects everyone. It is bad for your health and the health of others in your community. Things you can do to prevent wood smoke pollution include burn only dry wood, never let your heater smoulder overnight, keep the flame lively and bright, check to see if your chimney is smoking and have your chimney cleaned every year.
New Legislation - New Legislation commenced on 1 May 2006 giving Council Officers the power to issue smoke abatement notices and on-the-spot fines of $200 to occupiers that allow excessive smoke to be emitted from chimneys on or in residential premises. A smoke abatement notice directs a householder to undertake necessary improvements, maintenance or repairs to ensure that excessive smoke is not emitted from their chimneys.
What is Excessive Smoke? Excessive Smoke means the emission of a visible plume or smoke from a chimney for a continuous period of not less than 10 minutes, including a period of not less than 30 seconds when the plume extends at least 10 metres from the point at which the smoke is emitted from the chimney. (POEO Act 1997).
What Causes Excessive Smoke? Common operational causes of excessive smoke include insufficient kindling, too much firewood in the heater, turning the air control to slow burn too soon after light-up or refuelling, trying to burn a single large log, adding firewood without opening the air control, an incorrectly placed log which blocks the air supply to the base of the fire and use of wood that is too wet. Common installation or maintenance issues that cause excessive smoke include heater flue is clogged with creosote and needs to be swept (symptoms of a clogged flue are the heater is difficult to start or smoke enters the room when the heater door is opened), flue length is too short for adequate 'draw' (the flue is an important component of the woodheater installation and needs to be long enough to draw sufficient air for proper combustion of the fuel), poor location of heater and/or flue (a woodheater will perform better in terms of both heating effectiveness and reduced smoke emissions when located towards the centre of the home and not against an outside wall) and DIY repairs such as those that leave the heater with missing components or the baffle plate incorrectly installed.
For further information call Council's Environmental Health Officer or visit the Woodsmoke Reduction Program.
NSW Control of Burning Regulation - Under this Regulation, rubbish cannot be burnt and vegetation can only be burnt in residential and rural residential subdivisions following approval from Council. Permits are also required by the Rural Fire Service within the Statutory Fire Danger Period (usually 1 October - 31st March each year). If you wish to burn vegetation within a residential or rural residential subdivision, please complete the Application Form or contact Council.
For further information refer to Councils Open Burning Fact Sheet.