Urban run-off is a big contributor to stormwater pollution. Many different types of pollutants are washed from roadways, footpaths and other surfaces, and can end up in our waterways and beaches.
Common pollutants that make their way into stormwater include:
- Oils, grease and petrol from vehicles, commercial and industrial activity, service stations and marine activities.
- Chemical nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilisers and detergents. These can interfere with natural processes and cause algal blooms, odors and even death to fish.
- Pesticides and herbicides, which can enter the food chain and harm animals and people.
- Bacteria and viruses, mostly from sewage overflows or system defects.
- Sediments and solid materials
- Organic and inorganic litter that can cause blockages, eyesores and harm wildlife.
How you can help reduce stormwater pollution
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of pollutants entering our waterways.
- Wash your car on a grassed area to absorb detergents, oil and grit.
- Look after your car - fix any leaks, or use a drip tray to collect engine oil until you can get it fixed.
- Collect animal waste and put it in the bin or a sewage system.
- Compost natural litter like grass, garden cuttings and food scraps.
- Keep your bins covered and secured.
- Sweep paths and driveways, then collect the debris and put it in a bin or compost.
- Look for non-harmful alternatives to pesticides, herbicides and chemicals.
- Use a minimal amount of chemicals, and follow the manufacturer's directions.
- Dispose of any excess chemicals, paints and solvents properly - many can be taken to our Community Recycling Centre or chemical cleanout events.
- Collect any building waste and recycle it if possible, or dispose of it at a suitable landfill facility.
- Rinse paint brushes on the lawn to absorb paint.
- When cleaning your roof or gutters, try to disconnect or temporarily block downpipes and redirect the waste water into a garden, lawn or holding tank. See our Roof Cleaning and Restoration page for advice.
- Revegetate exposed soil areas with grass or plants to stabilise and prevent erosion.
- Make sure any excavations, or stockpiles of sand or soil are protected on the low side and have silt fencing to prevent erosion.
Report stormwater pollution
You can report water pollution issues to Council that are caused by sediment, building waste, plant matter, paint and chemicals or sewage. Visit our Air or Water Pollution page to lodge a report.
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