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NRC Warning On Stormwater Drain Pollution

29 January, 2008

NRC Warning On Stormwater Drain Pollution

Used oil, anti-freeze and paint are among a host of environmentally harmful substances being illegally tipped or spilled down Northland’s stormwater drains and finding their way into the sea.

The Northland Regional Council (NRC) is unimpressed with people who continue to dump all manner of harmful pollutants into stormwater drains, despite the fact those substances then travel straight into the ocean.

Mike Churcher, an Environmental Monitoring Officer (Coastal) with the Council, says such incidents are all too common, with the NRC responding to roughly one a week.

“These range from accidental spills or those stemming from ignorance, through to others where people clearly know they are in the wrong – and putting our environment and health at risk – but continue anyway.”

Mr Churcher says while the majority of substances are more of a risk to the environment, some – like thinners and fuels – can also pose a potentially serious safety threat to other people living or working nearby.

He says many of those tipping substances into stormwater drains assume they will not be caught, however, they are often proved wrong.

In recent weeks the Council had issued $750 infringement notices – effectively an instant fine – after unrelated incidents in the Bream Bay area. One incident had seen several litres of paint and a second water laden with silt, ending up in the local stormwater system.

Mr Churcher urged people to ensure they disposed of unwanted liquids responsibly and said anyone encountering what they suspected was illegal dumping into stormwater systems to call the Regional Council’s 24/7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 504 639.


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