Pretty as a picture - but wait

  • Published Date 27 Oct 2015

Another chocolate box scene was spoiled and many delicate creatures and ecosystems harmed last month when someone flushed paint down the stormwater drain.

This incident marks the beginning of the DIY season when people start sprucing up the home and garden for the holiday season, and a time when Greater Wellington Regional Council staff get more call outs for domestic pollution incidents than any other time of the year.

"It is a frustrating time of year for staff because these incidents are so damaging and so preventable," says council's Environmental Regulation Department manager, Alistair Cross.

GWRC environment regulation staff responded to 1,115 incidents in the twelve months to June 30, 2015 - an increase of 178 over the previous year. Of this number 51 responses related to contamination by paint, 36 wash water, 118 unspecified liquid waste and 81 to sewage. Sediment and Hydrocarbons accounted for 126 responses.

There have been 544 incident notifications with 117 responses to paint, sewage, wash water, sediment and hydrocarbons in the first three months of this reporting year and council staff are hoping they don't see a spike in incidents this clean-up season.

"It is clear many people still don't understand the connection between stormwater and being able to enjoy clean beaches rivers and streams. Councils all over New Zealand have been trying to get the message across for many years, but some people still choose to contaminate rather than change the way they do things.

"This season when people are cleaning up around the home I hope they also think about how they can keep the environment clean," Mr Cross says.

Mr Cross urges people to report possible contamination as soon as they can so staff can respond quickly and have a better chance of tracing contamination back to the source. Call the 24/7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 496 734.

Environmental Hotline on 0800 496 734

Updated April 29, 2022 at 10:15 AM

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