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Painters keen to keep it clean and out of the stream

August 22, 2012


Painters keen to keep it clean and out of the stream

Painters and householders around Christchurch are being reminded to do the right thing when they clean paintbrushes or dispose of paint to avoid polluting local streams and rivers.

A recent survey commissioned by Environment Canterbury of 400 Christchurch residents has found a majority of people are aware of the correct ways to clean paintbrushes.

“Around 70% of respondents said washing paintbrushes over the grass is acceptable,” said Kim Drummond, Environment Canterbury’s Director of Resource Management.

Washing paintbrushes over grass is a good way for householders to clean equipment as the chemicals from paint are absorbed by the ground and do not contaminate waterways.

“It does concern us, however, that more than one-quarter of respondents thought it was acceptable to clean brushes or paint near an outside drain.

“If people wash brushes and leftover paint down driveways, outside drains, or near stormwater grates, the waste essentially flows untreated directly to streams and can kill fish, plants and insects.

“We are reminding householders who are doing a spot of DIY painting the best way to wash their brushes is on the lawn.”

Using the laundry sink is acceptable for one or two brushes as the water goes via the sewers to the Bromley wastewater plant.

Environment Canterbury is targeting all painters – whether professionals or DIY masters – and has prepared point-of-sale posters and pamphlets, as well as information on websites and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/christchurchcleanwaterways)

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Businesses are also being encouraged to develop waste management plans to inform employees of the correct disposal methods for all waste in order to mitigate their risk.

It is estimated there will be up to 6,000 painters working in the Christchurch area when the earthquake rebuild and repair programme reaches its peak.

The survey showed 44% of respondents thought they would do, or organise, some painting work in the next two years.

“Thousands of houses are being painted as part of the Christchurch rebuild. Many people are intending to do the work themselves so it is important people are aware of how clean equipment and dispose of paint in the right way.”

“We have talked with local contractors and DIY painters and people want to know the right thing to do. We found there is a willingness to use best-practice for paint-related waste disposal.

“For those who are using professionals, we are encouraging them to talk to their contractors and make sure they are doing the right thing too. The best option for large-scale trade painters is to use an appropriate commercial system, or contact the Christchurch City Council to obtain a trade-waste licence,” he said.

“The stormwater system is for rainwater only: nothing else should be flowing into our local streams and rivers.

“It is important people understand the need to dispose of paint and other waste correctly to ensure our local waterways are protected,” said Kim Drummond.

If people see or suspect trade-waste is being poured into drains, rivers or streams they should call the Environment Canterbury Pollution Hotline on 0800 765 588.

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