• Level 2 Water Restrictions

    As a region we're experiencing the lowest water levels in our dams in over two decades. Level 2 water restrictions apply to all properties connected to Hunter Water's water supply network in the Cessnock Local Government Area.

    Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Dungog and small parts of Singleton.View a map of our area of operations

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Air Pollution


During winter, smoke from domestic wood heaters causes a lot of air pollution. Pollutants in the smoke include gases such as carbon monoxide, organic compounds, including air toxins and fine particles.

What can you do to reduce woodsmoke?

  • Always burn small logs of aged, dry hardwood – unseasoned wood has more moisture and is more likely to smoke.
  • Store firewood under cover in a dry ventilated area; freshly cut wood needs to be stored for eight to 12 months.
  • Never burn rubbish, driftwood or treated or painted wood. These pollute the air and can be poisonous.
  • When lighting a cold heater use plenty of dry kindling to establish a good fire quickly.
  • Stack wood loosely in the firebox so air can circulate – don't cram the firebox full.
  • Turn off the warm air circulation fan when lighting up and when refuelling.
  • Keep the flame lively and bright; your fire should only smoke for a few minutes when you first light it and when you add extra fuel.  Open the air controls fully for five minutes before and 15 to 20 minutes after reloading.
  • Don't let your heater smoulder overnight – keep enough air in the fire to maintain a flame.
  • Check your chimney regularly – if there is smoke coming from the chimney, increase the air supply to your fire.
  • Clean the chimney every year, to prevent creosote build-up.


If you have a complaint about smoke, ash and fumes please contact Council on 4993 4100.

When investigating complaints about smoke, ash and fumes, Council considers:

  • The amount of smoke being emitted
  • How long the smoke is emitted for, and the smoke's characteristics and qualities
  • The sensitivity of the environment into which the smoke is being emitted and the impact that it has had or may have
  • The views of any other neighbours or complainants

Further information

Why is woodsmoke a problem? To find out please visit the Office of Environment & Heritage webpage.

Dust and fume hazards

Buildings contain many different types of materials and associated chemicals. Unless managed and handled properly, some of these can potentially affect the health of people doing renovations, their families, neighbours and the environment.

Hazards posed by some materials, such as lead and asbestos, are fairly well known. However, dust and fumes from apparently 'safe' materials such as timber products, manufactured timber (eg. MDF), paint or cement can also potentially affect people's health and the environment.

Visit for detailed information on dealing dust hazards in the home.