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Pollution occurs when a contaminant is introduced to the environment, which can harm the land, water, air and/or the health and safety of human beings, and animals.

Water pollution often occurs due to our stormwater systems draining into local waterways, and ultimately the Nepean River.

The stormwater system includes the street gutter, road, stormwater pipes/pits, canals, creeks, dams and rivers.

Air pollution may result from land improvement activities, smoke emissions or hazard reduction.

Smoke pollution can aggravate existing heart and lung problems like angina, emphysema and asthma. It can also cause other health complaints such as throat irritations, burning eyes, headaches and decreased lung function.

The NSW Government provide daily air quality monitoring. Find out more here

On their website, you can subscribe to receive daily SMS or email updates with air quality ratings and forecasts.

Open Burning

Open burning or backyard burning is not permitted in the Camden local government area including all rural areas and is regulated across NSW by the Protection of the Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2021.

The Regulation aims to minimise the air pollution associated with burning. Smoke from burning wood, rubbish and vegetation can contribute to excessive levels of fine particles in the air, which are known to increase the incidence of respiratory diseases and can also create a nuisance to your neighbours.

Some exemptions apply such as hazard reduction works where a hazard Reduction Certificate has been issued by the NSW Rural Fire Service. Exemptions can also apply to some agricultural operations and cooking fires.

For more information click here or contact Council's Environment and Health Team on 13 CAMDEN or via email

Solid Fuel Wood Heaters


Wood heaters contribute to large amounts of particulate air pollution in NSW. The correct installation, maintenance and operation of your wood heater will ensure that you can avoid creating excess smoke that causes irritation and health risk to your family and the neighbourhood.

Wood heaters may be able to be installed without Planning approval if certain criteria are met, including the standard of the wood heater and proposed flue height. See Councils Local Approvals Policy for exemption criteria.

For more information on installing a new wood heater contact Council's Duty Planner on 13 CAMDEN or via email

How you can help to reduce smoke:

Do not generate an excessive amount of smoke from your wood heater by following these tips:

  • Only burn dry, seasoned firewood
  • Ensure adequate oxygen/air in the fire to prevent smouldering
  • Store your wood undercover in a dry, ventilated area
  • Never burn rubbish or painted or treated wood
  • Regularly remove ash and unburnt coals from the fireplace
  • Clean the chimney and flue out once a year

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, residents who do not follow the guidelines and cause excessive smoke may be issued a Smoke Abatement Notice and on-the-spot fines.

Learn why the EPA works to reduce wood smoke pollution and what you can do to help. 


Managing Odour

Bad smells can arise from various sources, including land improvement activities (fertiliser) and waste disposal areas. If you know where the smell is coming from, contact the premises directly to let them know the smell is impacting you.

The EPA regulates licensed premises, for example, waste resource recovery centres and quarries. If direct contact with the premises does not resolve the issue you can provide more information to the EPA for investigation here.

For other premises Council's Environmental Health Officers can investigate. Complaints can be made by contacting customer service at 13 CAMDEN or Online.

The following information will be required:

  1. Do you know the source of the smell?
  2. How long have you been affected by the smell?
  3. Time of day the smell is occurring (for example: only at night)
  4. The weather conditions at the time of the smell

Roof Restoration Water Pollution

Stormwater systems in our area, drain to local waterways, and ultimately the Nepean River.

The stormwater system includes the street gutter, road, stormwater pipes/pits, canals, creeks, dams and rivers. More info can be found here

Paint residues are harmful to the natural environment and can result in water being unsuitable for stock to drink or impact waterways and wildlife, including birds, fish and frogs.

What can you do to help?

Prevent washdown water from entering our stormwater system. Make sure that your business has an environmental management plan and procedures in place, also your staff and contractors are suitably trained and supervised. 

Before commencing a job put measures in place to ensure water pollution does not occur;

  • Check where the washdown water will drain to before the commencement of works
  • Block roof gutters at the inlet to downpipes to ensure polluted washdown water does not enter the downpipe
  • Temporarily disconnect downpipes during the high-pressure cleaning of the roof
  • Clean-up materials are available, including spill kits containing absorbent socks for unforeseen clean-ups.

Where pollution occurs, Council or the NSW Environment Protection Authority may issue fines and direct the polluter to clean up. Alternatively, we may undertake the work and issue an invoice for payment of all costs incurred to clean up.

This can be costly to your business!

Building Site Pollution

Council dedicates resources to educate and encourage positive interaction with all levels of the construction industry through on-site meetings, builder's & developer’s forums and builder’s barbeques.    

Council Officers undertake regular proactive patrols of building and development sites to ensure that the required site controls are implemented and maintained.

The patrols generally focus on the following:

  • Sediment and erosion controls
  • All-weather vehicle access
  • Pollution of roadways and stormwater systems
  • On-site management/control of building and waste materials  

Construction and development sites should follow the development industry ‘Blue Book’ guidelines found here.

To report building site pollution Contact Council's Customer Service Team 13 CAMDEN or Online

Pollution Complaint

If you observe a pollution incident, note as many details of the incident as possible as this will help the EPA, or Council to investigate the incident or issue. 

The more information you provide, the better we can respond:

  • Your name and contact details
  • What happened
  • Time and date of the incident
  • Location - exact address and/or cross streets
  • How you were impacted (eg, health)
  • Other factors, weather conditions, descriptions of people involved
  • the number plate of the vehicle involved (if available)
  • Evidence such as photos or videos

Report pollution incidents by contacting Council's Customer Service Team 13 CAMDEN or Online

To report a polluting licensed premises, for example, waste resource recovery centres and quarries, refer to the EPA for investigation here.

For more information on how Council responds to regulatory matters refer to Council's Environment & Regulatory Services Enforcement Policy

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