Who Investigates Water Pollution

Regulatory authorities such as Council and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) are provided powers to issue notices, directions and penalties related to water pollution incidents, pursuant to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. Whilst other authorities may investigate and seek to remedy incidents related to their industry – they must notify the EPA and/or Council of the incident.

The list below shows types of water pollution incidents and the appropriate regulatory authority to contact.

Type of Pollution Incident Who to Contact Contact Details
Pollution in stormwater drains, creeks or waterways

Soil and sediment coming from building sites

Effluent coming from an Onsite Sewage Management System

Local Councils (Regulatory Authority) 9847 6666 (Hornsby Shire Council)
Sewer overflow from main sewer line or manhole Sydney Water (who will notify the EPA and Council of their investigation) 132 090
Water pollution from a premises for which an environment protection licence is held

Water pollution caused by a public authority

EPA (Regulatory Authority)

If you are unsure whether a property is a scheduled premises, the EPA has a license database that can be searched.

131 555
Oil spills in waterways

Large spills on roadway

Fire and Rescue NSW 000
Discharge from vessels NSW Maritime 131 256
Algal blooms To report suspected algal blooms at all other times, an email can be sent to RACC@waternsw.com.au with details and any available photos of the suspected bloom. Water NSW Algal Coordinator


9847 6666 (Hornsby Shire Council)

Fish kills Fishers Watch Phoneline and/or Council 1800 043 536 (Fishers Watch Phoneline) and/or

9847 6666 (Hornsby Shire Council)

If you believe you have identified a water pollution incident, you should immediately report it to the appropriate regulatory authority. If unsure of who best to contact, please contact Council in the first instance.

In the case of a water pollution incident occurring due to an emergency such as a car accident, contact triple zero (000) immediately.

When reporting a water pollution incident, provide as much information as you can, including a definitive location of where you noticed the pollution incident and/or where you believe the pollution incident has originated from. Provide information such as business names, vehicle registrations, photos and/or videos of the incident.