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Warning Over Dumping Oil-Based Paints

Christchurch City Council

A warning was given today about dumping oil-based paints in drains and sewers.

Oil-based paints should not be put down sewers, drains or stormwater sumps, says the Christchurch City Council's trades waste manager, Norm Fitt.

Only water-based paints can be disposed of in the sewer system, he says.

His concern arose recently when a newspaper article on river pollution might have led some people to believe they could dispose of oil-based paints down the sewers.

Mr Fitt says oil-based paint residues could be left uncovered in the tin to complete dry out, then they can be disposed of in the normal refuse.

The Council issues a special information leaflet about cleaning up after painting "without dirtying the environment." This says that no excess paint and solvent mixtures, such as turps, be tipped into any drain.

"They will cause problems whether in our streams, harbours or underground water supplies, or in the sanitary sewers and sewage treatment plant," says the leaflet.

Mr Fitt says that often householders unwittingly cause pollution by washing paintbrushes into stormwater grates.

"We see all colours of paint washings in streams - any colours on the paint charts," he says.

He says the recent incident involved the Nortons Road stormwater outfall.

This has been a discharge point of pollutants for at least 10 years and in general most discharges have been traced by a source by the City Council and the Canterbury Regional Council, which shares a serious concern at such incidents.

A recent episode in the outfall involved turps and paint residues being tipped there that could have affected bird life.

"This is a real concern.

What needs to be considered is that the stormwater outfall services an extensive drainage system that extends up to and including parts of Russley Road," he says.

Discharges of substances can be reported to the Canterbury Regional Council pollution hotline: 366 4663 or the City Council: 379 1660 and ask for Trade Wastes, which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

ENDS

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