From 1 November 2019, the NSW legislation around dam safety was updated with the commencement of the NSW Dam Safety Act 2015. The Act superseded the NSW Dams Safety Act 1978 and came into effect with the introduction of the new NSW Dams Safety Regulation 2019. The regulation sets out operational details and safety standards that declared dam owners must comply with to satisfy the provisions of the 2015 Act. A new body, Dams Safety NSW, was created under the new Act. Dams Safety NSW replaces the Dam Safety Committee and is tasked with regulating the safety of declared dams in NSW. The new legislation provides updated requirements for Operation and Maintenance Plans (O&M Plans), with the requirement being for these plans to be in place by May 2020, and then for dams with extreme or high consequence category these plans are to be updated annually. The requirement to prepare and implement Dam Safety Emergency Plans (DSEPs) was carried through into the new legislation, with the regulations provided greater clarity on these.
In light of these legislative changes, The Hills Shire Council engaged Molino Stewart to prepare the O&M Plans and DSEPs for its Sierra Place and Gooden Drive flood detention basins in accordance with the requirements set out by Dams Safety NSW. Molino Stewart prepared an O&M Plan and DSEP for each of these basins which met the requirements of two final plans to reflect the requirements of the new legislation and meet The Hills Shire Council’s operational requirements.