Wet weather forecast preparation

Record-breaking rainfall so far this year has highlighted the importance of preparation for wet weather and flooding and having plans in place to respond to the direct and indirect impacts of these events.

This week heavy rain has been occurring and continues to be forecast for most of the state. 

The Bureau of Meteorology declared in September that a La Niña event was underway in the Pacific Ocean and eastern Australia can anticipate above-average rainfall over spring and early summer.

What retailers and waste generators should do 

There is potential for impacts to the capacity of some landfills, transfer stations and transport routes which are used in managing the waste that businesses generate.

Floods can cause direct impacts to waste management facilities and to the transport networks they utilise. Prolonged wet weather can also reduce the capacity of key facilities in waste logistics chains, such as where unsealed roads within landfills become slower for trucks to use. 

We are encouraging retailers to prepare for potential impacts to waste management services over the coming weeks, such as

  • try and minimise waste
  • reach out to your waste provider with specific concerns about impacts on your collections
  • think about contingencies in case waste services are interrupted

What industry facilities should do

Heavy rain and flooding events can lead to sediments, chemicals and other objects entering waterways that can be harmful to the environment and have long term impacts. Heavy rain and flooding also has the potential to increase odour generation and disrupt supply chains.

Licensees should review their Pollution Incident Response Management Plans to consider readiness for the effect that heavy rainfall and flooding may have on their operations. Consider the impact of disruptions that could occur if transport routes are impacted or supply chains that you rely on are interrupted.

The kinds of things we suggest you consider

  • Consider contingency measures for increased surface water and wastewater.
  • Ensure all sediment and erosion controls for unsealed or areas under construction are in good working order.
  • Continually treat and remove stormwater from retention basins and tailings dams according to licence conditions to maintain capacity and check the integrity of dams.
  • Keep bunds empty and take all measures to prevent them being filled with stormwater.
  • Keep chemicals stored above areas that are prone to inundation.
  • Secure all loose items to prevent them coming into contact with floodwater. 
  • Reduce any leachate / effluent / wastewater storage etc. on your site and consider the capacity of any effluent irrigation areas to manage your effluent under prolonged wet conditions
  • For landfills, check the adequacy of cover material for increased rainfall and check and maintain any gas collection systems.

Further information 

If you have any questions contact the EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or on info@epa.nsw.gov.au.