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Concrete polluters warned to clean up their act

Concrete polluters warned to clean up their act

North Shore City Council is targeting DIY enthusiasts as well as industry in its latest pollution-busting programme to reduce the amount of concrete and other toxic products from entering the city ' s waterways.

From mid-2001 to last Christmas, 22 per cent of incidents attended by the council ' s pollution prevention officer involved concrete, which dissolves easily in water ' burning ' and killing fish, insects and plants much like acid does.

The programme aims at educating the public, subdivision and building development site workers and contractors about how to prevent concrete-contaminated water from entering the city ' s stormwater system.

North Shore City Council ' s pollution prevention officer, Rowan Carter, says that people often don ' t think about where the concrete run-off ends up or the impact it will have on the environment.

" The home handyman could be laying a concrete vehicle access or cleaning concreting equipment after laying paving, or a contractor may be rinsing an exposed aggregate surface. All these activities can have a huge impact on water quality if the run-off goes down a stormwater drain, " says Mr Carter.

" If people don ' t take the appropriate action to prevent this happening, our streams, lakes, beaches and mangroves could become barren and lifeless. "

North Shore City ' s compliance and monitoring officers who keep an eye out for poor construction practice including the management of concrete run-off and the blockage of stormwater drains from concrete build-up, will be working closely with Mr Carter to ensure the message gets across.

People working with concrete, lime or other cement-based products should follow these simple rules: Divert concrete or associated product run-off to an excavated pit, grassed or unsealed area where it can soak in to the ground;

* Remove the concrete waste altogether and dispose of it away from stormwater drains.

Other toxic substances like old paint, oils and solvents can be disposed of at the next Hazmobile collection on June 28 - contact Actionline for details.

Those who do not respond to the council ' s educative approach can expect enforcement action and for serious offences, fines of up to $200,000 or up to two years in jail.

For further information on preventing water or land pollution, or to report a pollution event, people can contact Rowan Carter by calling Actionline on 486 8600, or ARC ' s pollution hotline on 377 3107.

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