With increased rainfall comes stormwater quality reminder
With winter comes increased rainfall, and with the rain comes the potential for more incidents of contaminated stormwater entering our waterways.
The Gore District Council’s 3 Waters team is acutely aware of the issues contaminated stormwater causes and regularly tests the network and problematic areas.
However, staff can’t be everywhere at once, says 3 Waters Asset Manager Matt Bayliss.
“When there’s been persistent or heavy rainfall, we rely on people reporting potential issues, especially when it comes to localised flooding caused by blocked or full roadside sumps.”
There was a good example recently where someone reporting discolouration of a local waterway lead to staff helping a local business put in place better management practices.
“We found rainfall was washing diesel that was slowly leaking from a vehicle parked on the road into the network.
“The amount of fuel found was not enough to have any adverse effect on the overall water quality, but was enough to be visible, something no one wants to see in our fresh waterways.
“As a result we are working with the business owner to raise awareness of potential stormwater contaminantion and how to prevent it.”
Stormwater is the rainfall that runs off hard surfaces such as roofs, roads and industrial yards. It is carried to the nearest waterway via the Council’s stormwater network and discharged untreated.
“Many people don’t realize the hazardous household waste products they wash with, or dump into stormwater drains and house downpipes discharges directly to local waterways.”
Dog droppings, food scraps and plastic bags can also make their way into waterways via the stormwater network, Mr Bayliss said.
The Council was working through introducing a Stormwater Management Bylaw to provide guidance on what can and cannot enter its stormwater networks in Gore, Mataura, Waikaka, Pukerau and Mandeville.
The bylaw would also set out key responsibilities regarding stormwater management in the District.
“I suppose the bottom line is we can all do our bit to improve the quality of stormwater.”
If anyone notices a blocked roadside stormwater grate or sump, or suspects contaminants are entering the Council's stormwater network or waterways within urban areas, please contact the Council as soon as possible.