Looking after your stormwater

Every day we undertake a number of tasks that can impact on our stormwater system, and our wastewater network.

All we need to do is make a few small changes and our infrastructure, waterways and the environment will be better off.

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The water runoff from washing your car contains heavy metals and detergents. This runoff, when washed on concrete or on the side of the road, can enter our stormwater network and flows untreated into our local waterways and ocean.

It is illegal for anything other than rainwater to go into stormwater drains.

Wash your car on a grassy surface as it allows the dirty and soapy water to be absorbed into the ground, filtering the water and preventing it from washing into a stormwater drain.

Or use a commercial car wash facility; many car washes treat the runoff as wastewater on site, or connects to the wastewater system.

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Not cleaning up after your dog can cause bacteria to enter our water ways.

Pet waste left on grassy areas, footpaths, and berms can be flushed into our stormwater network when it rains. The toxic mix of bacteria like E.coli from dog waste and water then flows untreated into our local waterways and ocean.

It is illegal for anything other than rainwater to go into stormwater drains.

Collect dog poo and dispose of it in the rubbish. 

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Paints (oil and water based) and thinners are toxic to aquatic life, and cause discoloration of streams.

It is illegal for anything other than rainwater to go into stormwater drains.

Be careful to clean up after any spills and avoid allowing any chemicals to reach the storm drains. 

When you clean or dispose of hazardous substances, make sure that you read the instructions on the container's label.

Each council has its own hazardous substances page on their website which has information on the disposal and cleaning of hazardous substances:

Hutt City Council
Porirua City Council
Upper Hutt City Council
Wellington City Council  

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Materials such as grass and tree clippings left on footpaths, berms, or driveways can be swept into storm drains. They provide excess nutrients and promote unnecessary algae growth which can cause severe negative impacts to waterway ecosystems.

Dirt and silt can smother aquatic life in stream beds and the sea floor, and cause discoloration of streams.

It is illegal for anything other than rainwater to go into stormwater drains.

Compost, use as garden mulch or dispose of at a landfill. 

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Food waste can cause major blockages at wastewater pumps and treatment plants. If damage happens to your wastewater pipes within your property boundary it is your responsibility to get is repaired, which could cost you a lot in plumber bills.

Blockages can cause flooding and wastewater overflows in your home, garden, or in public places.

Compost food waste or dispose of in the rubbish. 

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Cooking fats and oils can cause major blockages at wastewater pumps and treatment plants. If damage happens to your wastewater pipes within your property boundary it is your responsibility to get is repaired, which could cost you a lot in plumber bills.

Blockages can cause flooding and wastewater overflows in your home, garden, or in public places.

Collect fats and oils, let cool, and dispose of in the rubbish. 

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Disposable wipes (or any other material) should never be flushed down the toilet. They can block up wastewater pipes - yours and your city's - and can cost you thousands of dollars to get the blockages cleared.

If the wipes manage to make it all the way to the wastewater treatment plant, they end up blocking the screens (which have to be cleared by hand).

'Wetwipes' are not the only things that get flushed that shouldn't. Sanitary items, nappies, shampoo and conditioner bottle, hand towels, and even technology (phones/pagers) can enter the wastewater network.

These all can cause major blockages at wastewater pumps and treatment plants. If damage happens to your wastewater pipes within your property boundary it is your responsibility to get is repaired, which could cost you a lot in plumber bills.
Blockages can cause flooding and wastewater overflows in your home, garden, or in public places.

Collect wet wipes and dispose in the rubbish.

Only ever flush the three Ps - Pee, Poo, and (toilet) Paper. 

 

If you want to know what the water quality is at your local swimming spot, check out Greater Wellington Regional Council's 'Is it safe to swim?' map

The case against cross-connections

A cross connection is the diversion of stormwater into the wastewater network, or wastewater into the stormwater network, and they can be very harmful.   Read more