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Storminator takes out Innovation Award

An innovative team of University of Canterbury (UC) engineers has won the National Stormwater Innovation Award 2019 for an instantly practical and applicable stormwater treatment invention that stops zinc from galvanised roofs entering our precious waterways.

The winning team comprises UC Civil and Natural Resources Engineering academics Professor Tom Cochrane, Dr Aisling (Ash) O’Sullivan and Dr Frances Charters, experts in Hydrological and Ecological Engineering.

Competition for the award at the 2019 Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Auckland was fierce, but the judges felt the UC team’s Storminator offers a unique solution to a significant Aotearoa New Zealand environmental problem; that of roofing zinc polluting our waterways. Zinc is the most prominent of all the contaminants in rivers and streams. In Christchurch, metal roofs constitute 6.7% of the large Heathcote catchment and 5.7% in the smaller Addington catchment.

The Storminator uses waste material, can be retrofitted to existing properties and has been tested at industrial sites and educational institutions. Developed with the support of Environment Canterbury, it offers good value and is available for implementation across New Zealand and beyond.

Light, sustainable and inexpensive, the Storminator is unique as the only flow-through downpipe system known. Installation causes minimal disturbance to businesses or infrastructure. The invention is patented, trademarked and has its own domain name. Eight units are currently deployed for research and development purposes with more systems commissioned for installation soon. It is suitable for business or domestic applications.

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