Sonar used to locate flood debris in rivers

One the fallouts from the floods has been the rubbish and debris left in our rivers.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority are removing dangerous obstacles to navigation and water safety – including giant tree trunks and water tanks – out of rivers.

Crews are using an advanced sonar program to survey rivers for hazardous submerged debris with shoreline clean-up crews coming in behind to remove the debris once it is located.

EPA director Arminda Ryan said the Sonar Clean-up Program revealed otherwise invisible hazards. The sonar technology mounted on boats sends out sound waves and measures returning echoes to detect large items on the riverbed.

“Based on what has been found on shoreside clean-ups hazards are expected to include items as diverse as chemical drums, farming equipment, large tree branches and even caravans,” Ms Ryan said.

The program is a combined State Government agency effort with the EPA working closely with Transport for NSW to secure and mark hazardous debris prior to removal. 

Ms Ryan said the shoreline clean-up had already removed more than 6800 cubic metres of flood debris across NSW since the beginning of March, which is more than 340, 8-tonne tip trucks.

Members of the community can assist the clean-up of their local area by reporting flood debris to the Environment Line on 131 555 or by emailing

The sonar locating debris in rivers. Photo: Contributed
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