Each year thousands of litres of stormwater flows down the pipe network and out into our rivers, streams and the sea. Because stormwater is not treated and is discharged directly into our waterways it is illegal (under the Resource Management Act) to allow anything other than rain to enter the stormwater system.
“Trout don’t smoke”, so no cigarette butts or other rubbish down the stormwater drains please or any other substance that may be harmful to wildlife or our environment.
Are you polluting a stream?
Many people do not realize that hazardous household waste products that they wash with, or dump into stormwater drains and house downpipes discharge directly to local waterways.
Disposed plastic bottles, rubbish, paper, oil, grease, tar, silt, paint, pesticides, litter, cigarette butts, animal droppings, detergent, chemical cleaners and many other common household products are pollutants which are sometimes put down stormwater drains and end up in streams.
Most of these contain chemicals that are toxic to fish, and many small discharges from numerous sources can poison streams and rivers.
Do not pour anything into a stormwater drain that could be toxic to wildlife.
Common household products hazardous to fish
- Paints and Solvents
- Motor Oil
- Washing detergent
- Drain and toilet cleaners
- Dry cleaning agents
- Household cleaners
What can you do to stop pollution?
- Wash your vehicle on the grass or take it to an environmentally-friendly car wash at a service station. This will reduce the amount of runoff and water your lawn at the same time.
- Clean up paint the right way:
(i) When using water-based paint, clean up over soil or grass.
(ii) When using oil-based paint, keep paint, turps and solvents clear of gutters and drains.
(iii) Reuse turps once paint has settled. Allow unused paint to dry out and then put in the bin.
- Sweep your driveway regularly rather than hosing the rubbish away (this includes leaves and grass clippings)
- Soak up spills with kitty litter, sawdust, or dirt and put it in the rubbish.
- Don't hose household cleaners, concrete cleaning or any other chemicals down the stormwater drain.
- Use rain tanks to collect roof runoff (not for drinking water). This can then be used to water your garden.
- Pick up all animal droppings.
- Dispose of excess paint and chemicals in the hazardous waste area at landfills.
- Regularly service your car. This stops leaking oil getting into the stormwater system - it only takes one litre of oil to contaminate a thousand tonnes of water.
- Use litter bins - don't drop cigarette butts, soft drink bottles and other litter into stormwater drains.
- Use permeable paving. Recent floods have highlighted the importance of keeping hard areas to a minimum. Hard areas cause stormwater to run-off in volume, at speed and sweep pollution along with it. Permeable pavers give you paving but they enable water to soak through.
If you have any queries regarding disposal of rubbish items or paints and chemicals please contact council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.