Don't let your DIY become a disaster

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Published: 15 Jan 2021

Many people are taking the opportunity to catch up on all those DIY tasks, but need to be aware of the risks of an unseen disaster.

The district has been seeing an increased number of problems with contaminates from urban stormwater entering our ecologically important waterways.

Stormwater is not processed in the same way as the water that leaves your home’s sinks and toilets.

Drainage and Water Manager Grant Hall said that when contaminants such as paint, oil and solvents go down the storm drains they don’t go to the treatment plant, they go out into the environment.

“We’ve already seen some serious contamination issues over the past few months and it’s really important we remind people to take this issue seriously,” he said.

“In one recent instance, a private home owner washed paint brushes at the front of their home. The paint eventually ended up in a waterway requiring an emergency clean-up.

“Other occasions elsewhere in New Zealand saw significant paint contamination, contributing to the death of several native eels and posing a huge risk to a sensitive ecology.

“Most people tend to think that a good rainfall might ‘flush the system out’, however, a large rainfall can flush polluted water through the system as well as clean water, and there are limits to how much treatment we can do to the water while ensuring the system prevents flooding.

“The best thing everyone can do is to reduce the amount of contaminants in the stormwater system in the first place.”

There are five simple steps that people can take to reduce their impact on the environment through stormwater.

  1. Only Rain goes down the drain.

    Don’t hose household cleaners, paint or any other chemicals down the stormwater drain. Follow the instructions on the packaging on how to dispose of them safely. If you see someone putting contaminants down the storm drain, you can report it on 03 687 7200.

  2. Scoop the Poop – Pet waste

    Pet waste contains bacteria and disease causing organisms that can infect people and other animals. Bag it up, and put it in the red bin

  3. Don’t Drip and Drive – Fix Car leaks

    Get your car serviced regularly. One litre of oil can contaminate a million litres of water.

  4. Carwash away from Drains.
    Petrol station carwashes treat and dispose of the wash water from cleaning cars. If you wash your car at home make sure it is away from the drain.
  5. Plant Natives

The natural evolution of Native plants have resulted in extensive root networks that are capable of preventing erosion, improving water quality and providing additional filtration. By planting native plants for a private or public property the owner reduces the time and money as there is less maintenance required.

For more information about stormwater you can visit the website;

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021