A COMMITMENT to improving the water quality of creeks, canals, rivers and other waterways has inspired a Gold Coast erosion control firm to manufacture an innovative filter to control the loss of sediment from building sites.
The Integrated Filter Soxx is a strong, lightweight and organically-filled soft mesh tube that traps sediment and soluble pollutants to prevent waterway pollution and short and long-term environmental damage.
Integrated Erosion Control Australia Managing Director Peter Sinclair says the cost-effective and fully portable runoff control system could soon make the widely-used geotextile silt fences a thing of the past.
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“Numerous catchment management studies have identified development as being the main source of stormwater pollution,” Mr Sinclair said.
“Silt fences are widely used on construction sites because of their low cost and simple design, although their effectiveness in controlling sediment is often compromised due to problems with design, installation or maintenance.
“They regularly tear during heavy rain with disastrous results for waterways and adjoining properties.
“Our Integrated Filter Soxx system sits flush on the ground and nothing compares with its tensile strength, flow rate reduction and flexibility,” he said.
Mr Sinclair said there is strong financial incentive for builders and homeowners to do the right thing with offences under the Environmental Protection Act attracting hefty on-the-spot fines in the thousands of dollars with serious or repeat offenders prosecuted through the courts where the maximum penalties are over $80,000.
“The Queensland Government Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 establishes Healthy Waters Management Plans as a key planning mechanism to improve the quality of Queensland waters.
“And it’s something all State Governments in Australia monitor and enforce quite strictly.
“The Tweed Shire Council recently fined a Tweed Valley landowner $1,500 for unauthorised earthworks on his property, where a bulldozer and other heavy equipment were being used to build a road and house pads.
“In that case, heavy rains that washed tonnes of soil into a nearby waterway have been described as an ‘ecological disaster’.
“Our country is under increasing water stress, caused by a combination of its natural environmental conditions and the dynamic population growth it is experiencing.
“Increased demand for housing has impacted water quality enormously and the prevention of that is something we at Integrated are keen to be a big part of,” he said.