Is it a requirement to maintain my WSUD technology?

06 May 2013

Everyday in our profession, the majority of us regularly deal with design, implementation and construction of vegetated and proprietary treatment technologies for the management of stormwater. Jurisdictions such as Blacktown City Council and Brisbane City Council provide succinct treatment objectives, guidelines and capacity building programmes to assist with creating treatment strategies for development assessment. The systems are often designed and planned to be maintained, however, the regulation around ongoing maintenance and compliance is often an afterthought and seldom exists. Unfortunately, the majority of councils in NSW and VIC are not even regulating water quality treatment objectives on private sites let alone thinking about the maintenance implications and regulation.

WSUD technologies require maintenance in order to function as intended to manage stormwater runoff. All too often maintenance is not completed and nor is the correct maintenance being undertaken for the system. Fortunately, a handful of  local government authorities in NSW and QLD have recognised this fact and have implemented policies to deal with this issue. Authorities such as Ipswich, Sunshine Coast Regional, Blacktown and Brisbane City Council’s have developed maintenance compliance as part of the approval process to deal with these assets long after the operational approvals have been granted.  Each councils have specific wording regarding their requirements, however, in general they require a minimum two year maintenance agreement in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines and in some cases
“supply agreements” up to 10 years are being conditioned.

Progressive local governments, like the ones above, understand that universal adoption of WSUD in both public and private spaces can provide good environmental outcomes on a catchment wide basis without the majority of cost burdening local government authorities. Regional regulatory requirements for the maintenance WSUD treatment technology will become more mainstream and so will the importance of life cycle costs on these assets.