City of Greater Dandenong’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) is working with concrete batching plants to prevent stormwater pollution.
“Small and medium scale batching plants do not require a (works) approval or licence from EPA to operate. While the EPA has useful guidelines, many businesses have scope to improve their environmental practices,” the OPLE said.
To date, the OPLE has undertaken 16 inspections across 10 businesses in Greater Dandenong to assess their practices and raise awareness about preventing stormwater contamination.
“I let the staff know that I’m there to work through any issues with them and to their credit, all the businesses I’ve inspected have been very willing to engage.”
An inspection of a concrete batching plant in early-2018 found the site had insufficient measures in place to prevent concrete and other waste materials running off the premises and into nearby stormwater drains.
“The site’s stormwater system was collecting wash-water and discharging it into a blocked drain on the street. The water was then trailing across the road into a second stormwater drain.
"The plant’s management team were unaware that they were potentially contaminating local stormwater and while that’s no excuse, they were very keen to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”
Within days of EPA’s inspection, the management team installed concrete bunding in high-risk areas of the site to contain their wastewater run-off.
“The bunding diverts their wastewater into a wedge pit that allows the sediment to settle so they can return it to their recycling system. Most importantly, the wastewater is no longer discharging from the site and entering nearby drains."
“I think most businesses are keen to do the right thing. It’s important that businesses ensure their onsite activities and equipment are not discharging to their stormwater systems. Checking that drains are clear of litter and waste is also a key factor in improving stormwater quality and protecting downstream water bodies such as rivers and creeks”.
Further information on how to prevent stormwater pollution can be found here. EPA is also developing new guidance materials for the concrete batching industry, which are due to be released by mid-2019.