Nuisances which are council's responsibility
Townsville City Council Environmental Health staff are delegated the responsibility for enforcing the Environmental Protection Act 1994. This legislation deals with a number of environmental nuisances, including noise, dust, smoke, ash, aerosols, fumes, particles, light, odour, and other factors that can affect our quality of life.
Council is the authority responsible for investigating nuisances that arise from residential premises and commercial activities.
If you have a nuisance issue with a surrounding neighbour, we recommend that in the first instance you should discuss all possible options for resolving the problem with your neighbour. When disagreements between neighbours arise, talking together and working towards a mutual solution is the best approach.
Nuisances which are not council's responsibility
Some nuisances are regulated by other government agencies, these include:
Noise is an inescapable part of modern human life and rare moments of solitude are usually disturbed by noise of some sort. There are legal limits on the amount and type of noise made in our community, as well as restrictions on the times noise can be made. These laws try to provide a balance between the protection of our quality of life, and the reasonable pursuit of activities that have the potential to annoy others.
Council's Environmental Health Services regulates excessive noise including:
- Airconditioning units
- Amplifiers (e.g. loudhailers)
- Power boat engines (on land)
- Pumps including pool and spa pumps
- Regulated devices including motor mowers, leaf blowers, power tools etc.
- Building works
- Refrigeration activities
Refer to our fact sheets for further information about noise nuisances.
Lighting is often important in urban areas for safety reasons, however excessive lighting from office buildings or security lighting in residential or commercial areas can be a nuisance and may reduce the quality of life for some people.
Council is responsible for regulating nuisance light emissions from residential premises and most commercial/industrial premises.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates nuisance light emissions from premises holding a licence with the EPA.
Refer to our fact sheets for further information.
The Environmental Protection laws also cover other unreasonable releases of various emmisions which include dust, smoke, fumes, and odour. Examples include:
- Smoke or ash from burning off wastes
- Aerosols from paint cans and other fine mists
- Fumes from petrol or diesel
- Dust from construction works, and
- Odour from composting or accumulated rubbish.
The following criteria are used when investigating these nuisance complaints:
- Time of release
- How long the release lasts
- The environmental values of the area
- The impact on the environment, and
- The views of the complainants.
Smoke, odour or fumes emitted from residential cooking are exempt from the nuisance legislation.
Refer to our factsheets for further information.
Minor Water Contamination
Minor water contamination includes the release or deposit of contaminants such as chemicals, oil, building waste, waste water, glass, metal or paper into rivers, lakes, streams, roadside gutters or stormwater drainage. Such contaminants can damage or destroy Townsville's beautiful waterways and beaches.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Council is responsible for investigation such incidences. On-spot-fines can be issued to persons found depositing or releasing such contaminants.
Clean Building Sites
Water contamination poses a serious impact on the environment. Builders and developers have obligations to prevent the deposit or release of sand, sediment, silt, rubbish or building materials into gutters, stormwater drains and waterways from building sites.
What builders and developers need to do?
- Install and maintain sediment fences to control runoff
- Place gravel sausages to reduce material entering stormwater drains
- Have waste containers available
- Build waste containers on site by using geotextiles and rope to enclose waste
- Empty waste containers and clear other waste storages on a regular basis
What are some common building site deficiencies?
- No establishment of a stabilised entry/exit point
- Unnecessary site disturbance (such as parking or driving on exposed soil)
- Failure to divert upslope water
- Failure to install sediment controls such as sediment fences or turf strips
- Delays in connecting downpipes to stormwater drains
- Incorrect sitting of stockpiles
- Failure to install and/or maintain adequate drop inlet sediment traps.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, council is responsible for investigation such incidences. On-spot-fines can be issued to persons that allow the runoff of sand, sediment, silt, rubbish or building materials into gutters, stormwater drains and waterways.
Refer to our fact sheets for further information.
Where do I direct my complaint?
Contact council's Customer Service Centre. A complaint must be lodged with Council before it can be investigated. All complaints remain confidential. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.
You complaint will be directed to an Environmental Health Officers (EHO's) for investigation.
What do I need to know before directing my complaint?
To ensure your complaint is handled in a timely and efficient manner, it is important that Council is provided with the following accurate information:
- The nature of the complaint, i.e. power tools starting before 6.30am,
- The time the issue started and/or finished,
- The street/site address and if known the name of the company/person involved,
- How long the issue has been going on for, and
- Any other information you feel may be beneficial in the handling of your complaint.
A summary of the complex process for remediation is contained in the attached fact sheets. Issues which go beyond the breadth of these fact sheets should be directed to our Environmental Health Services staff.
Environmental Nuisance Factsheets