What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the rainfall that runs off hard surfaces such as your roof, the road, driveway, footpath, industrial yards and the lawn. It is carried to the nearest waterway and discharged untreated.
We have 66.8km of stormwater pipeline and look after five stormwater drainage areas – Gore, Mataura, Waikaka, Pukerau and Mandeville.
Stormwater from our urban areas goes into the Mataura River, Waikaka Stream, Falconer Creek and Waimumu Stream untreated.
In Gore and Mataura there are a lot of streets where the stormwater and wastewater pipelines are combined.
Protect our streams
Many people do not realize that hazardous household waste products they wash with, or dump into stormwater drains and house downpipes discharge directly to local waterways.
Most of these contain chemicals that are toxic to fish, and many small discharges from numerous sources can pollute streams and rivers.
Do not pour anything into a stormwater drain that could be toxic to wildlife.
To help protect our streams:
- Never tip oil, paint or chemicals down the stormwater drain - it takes only one litre of oil to contaminate a thousand tonnes of water.
- Where a business has an interceptor, it should be used correctly and regularly cleaned, otherwise the overflow can enter the stormwater network.
- Always wash paint brushes in an inside sink or a gully trap.
- Pour all liquid wastes, such as the bucket of water used to wash the floors, down a sink, toilet or on to the lawn.
- Don't drop litter. One burst of rain can wash plastic bags, food scraps, cigarette butts, cans and other litter into the stormwater system. Rubbish can also block up our networks and cause flooding.
- Always pick up dog droppings - picking up droppings prevents them being washed into waterways. Animal droppings contain bugs that can make you sick.
- Sweep, don't hose - sweep paths and gutters rather than hosing lawn clippings, leaves, dirt and general street pollution into stormwater drains.
- Green waste and organic material should not be dumped in stormwater networks as these can cause blockages, increasing flood risk and reduce the quality of fresh waterways.
- Wash the car at a car wash or on the lawn. Most pollutants will be absorbed and broken down in the ground. Do you really need to use chemicals to wash the car? Try using a brush and a little elbow grease instead.
Looking after our stormwater network
Our 3 Waters team works hard to protect our stormwater network. However, we are reliant on public reports, especially when it comes to localised flooding caused by blocked/full roadside sumps. Please call us 209-0330 to report any issues.
Here's some of things we do to monitor the network:
- We sample our stormwater networks a minimum of four times a year for the presence of elevated levels of sediment, E.coli and other human waste indicators.
- If we receive a high E.coli result, as defined in our stormwater discharge consents with Environment Southland, or we suspect wastewater contamination we will follow up with an investigation.
- If the source is found to be human waste contamination we will work to fix it as soon as possible. On public property we are responsible to fix the contamination. On private property it is the responsibility of the landowner.
- We also run a regular “drains run”. This is where operators check over problematic areas for flooding to identify any potential maintenance requirements before issues arise.
What if there is a problem?
On Your Property – a blocked drain or drainage issues on your property is your responsibility to fix. You may need to contact your plumber to help solve the problem.
We have some records of each service connection location and this information can be viewed on your property file at our main office.
On public property – if you notice a blocked roadside stormwater grate or sump, or discoloured water entering waterways within the urban areas, please contact us as soon as possible (ph: 209-0330).