Stormwater is the rainfall that runs off hard surfaces such as your roof, the road, driveway, footpath, industrial yards and even the lawn. Stormwater pipes and drains collect the rainfall and carry it untreated to the nearest waterway.
Stormwater and our environment
Stormwater becomes polluted because it picks up rubbish, animal faeces or other pollutants and washes them through the stormwater system then into our waterways.
In both urban and rural areas stormwater runoff can contain silt, bacteria, oil and grease, heavy metals, toxic substances, litter and household wastes.
Stormwater drains don't go to the sewer treatment plant. Anything you tip or spill down your stormwater drain goes directly to our waterways.
People may think their little bit of waste won't harm the environment. But when combined with all the other "little bits" from everyone else, it contributes to high levels of pollution that pose a risk to fish, shellfish, plants, and even humans.
Help protect our waterways
Never connect downpipes to the gully trap.
Stormwater drains - including the downpipe from the roof of your house, collect rain and carry runoff to the nearest river, stream, beach or harbour.
Sewers collect wastewater from inside buildings - sinks, toilets and bathrooms. This wastewater flows through the sewer network to the sewer treatment plant. Even a small number of downpipes connected to the sewer system can overload the system in heavy rain. When overloaded - untreated sewage and industrial waste can overflow into our streams, rivers and beaches.
- Never tip oil, paint or chemicals down the stormwater drain. It takes only one litre of oil to contaminate a thousand tonnes of water.
Take used oil to a local service station, for recycling or take it to the resource recovery centre in Innes Street.
- Always wash paint brushes in a sink or a gully trap.
- Pour all household liquid wastes, such as the bucket of water used to wash the floors - down a sink, toilet or gully trap.
- Sweep - don't hose. Sweep paths and gutters rather than hosing lawn clippings, leaves, dirt and general street pollution into stormwater drains.
- Don't drop litter. One burst of rain can wash plastic bags, food scraps, cigarette butts, cans and other litter into the stormwater system.
- Always pick up dog droppings - this prevents it being washed into waterways and onto beaches.
- Wash your car at a carwash or on the lawn. Most pollutants will be absorbed and broken down in the ground. Do you really need to use chemicals to wash your car?
If you want to know more about how to prevent stormwater pollution, or you see something we should know about, please contact us.