Paint pol­lu­tion avoid­able

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A stream in Whitby ran white re­cently due to paint en­ter­ing the stormwa­ter sys­tem, prompt­ing a re­minder from the re­gional coun­cil that road­side gut­ters are only for the rain.

Greater Welling­ton’s en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion team were called out to Al­ba­tross Close Stream, a trib­u­tary of Duck Creek, on Jan­u­ary 10 when res­i­dents no­ticed a paint dis­charge at a stormwa­ter out­let.

‘‘ The source of the paint couldn’t be traced but it prob­a­bly came from a do­mes­tic source such as some­one emp­ty­ing left­over paint or wash­ing their paint brushes into the road­side gut­ter,’’ says se­nior en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer Naomi Mid­dle­ton, who at­tended the in­ci­dent.

‘‘At this time of the year many peo­ple are try­ing to com­plete their sum­mer DIY projects – but these of­ten in­volve pol­lu­tants like paint, which must be dis­posed of prop­erly.

Paint should never go down road­side gut­ters be­cause it will drain into the stormwa­ter sys­tem and end up in streams and the sea, con­tam­i­nat­ing the plants and an­i­mals that live there.’’

Ms Mid­dle­ton says the cor­rect dis­posal for small amounts of left­over paint is the waste­water sys­tem.

‘‘Put your left­over paint in your laun­dry sink - this goes for wash­ing paint brushes too and also for ‘green’ or ‘biodegrad­able’ paint, which is a con­tam­i­nant when it gets into the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. The more di­luted the paint is when it goes down the laun­dry sink, the bet­ter.

‘‘Some re­tail­ers ac­cept un­used or un­wanted paint, so that’s an­other op­tion for get­ting rid of left­over paint.’’

If you see any waste go­ing into the gut­ter, call the re­gional coun­cil’s 24-hour En­vi­ron­ment Hot­line: 0800 496 734.

White wash: Paint pol­lu­tion in Whitby’s Al­ba­tross Close Stream.

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