The Stormwater Teaching Guide forms part of the Schools Stormwater Resources, which include:
- a full colour poster Stormwater - Everyone's responsibility every day
- Schools Stormwater Accreditation Scheme.
The following EPA publications could be a useful resource for teachers using this teaching guide
- Biodiversity: A Teaching Guide, 1999
- Sustainability: A Teaching Guide, 1999
The background material in each section is a short text for teachers that introduces the concept in detail and can be used as preparation for classroom activity.
The suggested activities are designed to teach the concepts in each section to students. Each activity contains the following elements:
- Introduction: this indicates the intent of the activity and its general relationship to key learning areas
- Outcomes: statements of the specific results of teaching of the syllabus. The outcomes listed have been drawn from the NSW Board of Studies HSIE Stage 2, Geography Stage 5, Science and Technology K-6, and Science Stage 4-5 syllabuses
- Keywords: words that are essential to understanding the activity
- Process, or Background to Activity: suggestions on how to implement the activity in the classroom.
There is growing community concern about the state of waterways in NSW. In the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) survey Who Cares about the Environment, (1994, 1997, 2000), water pollution and quality was seen as the single most important environmental issue, with a substantial percentage of people believing that water quality in NSW rivers, lakes and creeks had deteriorated over the past three years. The same survey indicated that education about the environment was the single most important environmental initiative that the NSW Government could take over the next few years.
Stormwater pollution is a major threat to the health of our waterways. In October 1997 the NSW Government established the Stormwater Trust to encourage and support improved urban stormwater quality management practices that will improve the condition of the State's waterways. Within this program, the Urban Stormwater Education Program has been established to assist the development and delivery of innovative education projects.
The Schools Stormwater Resources aim to:
- raise awareness, promote concern and increase skills in improving the quality of stormwater
- promote and support behaviours that improve the quality of stormwater
- integrate stormwater education into the formal and non-formal school curricula
- increase the pick-up of environmental education in schools
- promote the role of students as a source of information for their families on stormwater pollution prevention.
The primary target for the Stormwater Education Resources is teachers of Science and Technology K-6 and Human Society and Its Environment Stage 2 (years 3 and 4), the Science Stage 4-5 syllabus and Stage 5 (years 9 and 10) Geography.
Environmental Education Policy for Schools (2001)
A new Environmental Education: Policy for Schools has been developed by the NSW Department of Education and Training (www.curriculumsupport.nsw.edu.au). This policy is based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development and replaces the 1989 curriculum statement. The adoption of this policy is mandatory for all government schools.
The policy promotes active participation in:
- improving the school environment
- addressing local environment issues
- being informed about global environmental issues
- playing an active role as global citizens in protecting the environment.
The policy sets out three major focus areas:
- Management of resources
- Management of school grounds.
This kit supports the implementation of the new environmental education policy for schools in the following ways:
- school stormwater audit
- involving students in investigating, maintaining and improving the school and local environment
- using the community to investigate practical and real life situations
- providing opportunities for students to develop into effective and committed environmental citizens
- identifying the global to local dimension of the `global freshwater crisis'
2. Management of Resources
- development of a school pollution prevention plan for stormwater
- employing best practice and ensuring compliance to environmental legislation - The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act)
- maximising learning opportunities created by the school's management of resources
- improving the school environment
- sense of community and pride in the school
- participatory democracy in the management of school resources
- increasing student confidence and skills in making decisions about environmental issues
- involvement of the local community
- sustainable management of resources during construction and demolition
3. Management of School Grounds
In implementing this focus area of the policy, schools are expected to:
- use and develop their grounds and buildings to enhance and achieve the objectives of environmental education and syllabus outcomes
- use their grounds and buildings as learning areas
- identify and implement long-term strategies that will rehabilitate areas of the grounds and buildings and reflect best practice for sustainable management.
Environmental Management Plan
All NSW Government schools are required to develop a school environmental management plan that works to a schedule and is implemented in stages.
The policy recommends that schools involve the whole school community in developing these plans. It is also suggested that schools seek to involve the local community, environment groups and local government (see The NSW Nature Conservation Council for information about local environment groups http://www.nccnsw.org.au/ and Department of Local Government for information about your local council www.dlg.nsw.gov.au)
This Stormwater Teaching Guide will act as a valuable tool to assist the development of these plans.
The NSW Government introduced new environmental legislation, that came into force on 1 July 1999 - The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Schools have new pollution prevention responsibilities under this legislation. Under the POEO Act it is against the law to allow any material other than clean water to enter the stormwater system. It is also against the law to store or manage materials in an environmentally unsatisfactory manner (in such a way as there is the potential to pollute).
The stormwater pollution prevention practices demonstrated by a school can offer important learning to the thousands of young people who witness these actions. It is therefore critical that NSW schools demonstrate effective pollution prevention practices that not only comply with the new legislation but also model current best practice in stormwater management.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
The object of The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 is to:
- protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in New South Wales, having regard to the need to maintain ecologically sustainable development
- provide increased opportunities for public involvement and participation in environmental protection
- ensure that the community has access to relevant and meaningful information about pollution
- reduce risks to human health and prevent the degradation of the environment
- rationalise, simplify and strengthen the regulatory framework for environment protection
- improve the efficiency of the administration of the environment protection legislation
- assist in the achievement of the objectives of the Waste Minimisation and Management Act 1995 and clean-up notices.
Environment Protection Notices
Clean-up notices, prevention notices and prohibition notices are the environment protection notices specified under the legislation.
Clean-up Notices may direct an occupier of premises to take clean-up action specified in the notice. A regulatory authority (such as local council or EPA officers) may direct:
- an occupier of premises, or
- a person who is reasonably suspected of causing or having caused a pollution incident
to take such clean-up action necessary to rectify the environmental harm caused.
Prevention Notices can be issued if the EPA or local council suspects that an activity has been or is being carried on in an environmentally unsatisfactory manner at any premises or by any person. Prevention notices require that action specified in the notice be taken. There is a right of appeal to the Land and Environment Court.
An activity is carried out in an environmentally unsatisfactory manner if:
- it is carried out in contravention of the Act
- it causes, or is likely to cause, a pollution incident
- it is not carried out in a manner to prevent, control or minimise pollution
- it is not carried out in accordance with good environmental practice.
The regulatory authority may direct the offender to take such action as is necessary to ensure that the activity is carried on in the future in an environmentally satisfactory manner.
Clean-up and Prevention Notice Fees. Fees (currently $320) for the issuing of clean-up and prevention notices are payable to the regulatory authority issuing the notice. Local councils retain these fees. EPA notice fees are paid into consolidated revenue. Compliance cost notices can be issued to the recipient of a clean-up or prevention notice. This is to recover the reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the authority in monitoring and ensuring that the action required by the clean-up or prevention notice is carried out.
Prohibition Notices can only be issued by the Minister, on the recommendation of the EPA, directing that an activity cease for a period specified in the notice.
Duty to Notify. Pollution incidents causing or threatening material harm to the environment are required to be notified to the appropriate regulatory authority. A person who fails to notify the appropriate authority is guilty of an offence and liable for the maximum penalty.
The classification of offences as Tier 1, 2 or 3 continues under the POEO Act.
On-the-spot Fines (Tier 3 Offences) can be issued by Regulatory authorities (usually EPA or local council) for breaches of the POEO Act.
- in the case of a corporation - $1,500 or
- in the case of an individual - $750.
Tier 2 Offences are set out according to the medium involved. Water pollution is prohibited under section 120 (Clean Waters Act 1970).
The maximum penalty for tier 2 offences is:
- in the case of a corporation - $250,000, and in the case of a continuing offence $120,000 for each day the offence continues, or
- in the case of an individual - $120,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further penalty of $60,000 for each day the offence continues.
Tier 1 Offences continue as the most serious offences. These include the wilful or negligent disposal of waste, causing or likely to cause harm to the environment (s. 115), wilfully or negligently causing a substance to leak, spill or otherwise escape (s. 116), and the wilful or negligent emission of an ozone-depleting substance in breach of the Ozone Protection Act 1989 (s. 117).
A person who is guilty and convicted of a tier 1 offence is liable:
- in the case of a corporation - to a penalty not exceeding $1,000,000
- in the case of an individual - to a penalty not exceeding $250,000 or 7 years imprisonment, or both.
Page last updated: 26 February 2011