Water  |  23 Aug 2022

Christchurch residents are being encouraged to play their part in cleaning up the city’s waterways by thinking more about what they are putting down roadside drains.

“As a Council we are investing significantly in improving the health of Christchurch’s waterways but we need everyone’s help to do this,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters Helen Beaumont.

“People may not be aware that the stormwater grates they see on the roadside drain through to our waterways. This means that any rubbish, chemicals or contaminant that pass through the stormwater grates will eventually end up in our streams, wetlands and rivers.

“If we are going to make headway in improving the health of the waterways around Christchurch, we really need people to be mindful of how their actions could be impacting on water quality,’’ Ms Beaumont says.

Big improvements could be made to the health of our waterways if people:

Change the way they wash their car

  • Many detergents are harmful to fish and other water life. We recommend that when washing your car that you wash it on the grass or on a shingle driveway, if possible. This allows the water to soak into the lawn or gravel rather than into the storm water. Alternatively take your car to a commercial car wash.

Are careful with sprays and fertilisers

  • When using sprays or fertilisers in your garden and around your home, always make sure to use them away from areas where water may run into stormwater grates.

Check for rubbish

  • When you are putting your wheelie bins out or are bringing them in, do a quick check of the gutters for any rubbish that might have spilled out. Litter can often end up in the stormwater and be a hazard to fish and other wildlife.

Brush leaves away

  • Brushing leaves and soils off the driveway and away from the gutter is important. We recommend putting leaves and soil into the green bin or your home compost.

Pick up poo

  • If you own a dog, please pick up their poo and put into the red bin. Dog poo contains harmful bacteria that we don’t want to end up in our rivers and streams.

Replace car brake pads

  • Most car brake pads contain copper that comes off in particles every time you brake. These particles end up on the road and then make their way into our stormwater. In order to prevent this, replace your car brake pads with non-copper alternatives.

Paint their roof

  • Painting your roof if it is worn will not only protect your roof, it will also stop heavy metals like zinc from washing into stormwater. Make sure you wash your paint brushes in the laundry sink rather than outside! This means paint will wash into the wastewater network instead of the stormwater network.

Cover soil

  • If you are landscaping your property, do not leave exposed soil out as rain can often wash this into stormwater. Silt can suffocate fish if it clogs their gills.

Join a river care group

Report sediment and pollution spills before they get to the river

  • If you see sediment coming from building sites during rain events, or sediment tracked onto the road, take photos and provide details to the Christchurch City Council, info@ccc.govt.nz or via Snap Send Solve.
  • Report pollution spills to the ECan Pollution Hotline 0800 765 588.