We for­got about waste

The Shed - - Letters -

I re­cently read the paint­ing ar­ti­cle in my wife’s The Shed mag­a­zine (Is­sue No. 83). A pretty use­ful ar­ti­cle but one as­pect that did bother me was what wasn’t cov­ered in terms of proper wash­ing prac­tice for build­ings, roofs, or brushes, etc. Not once was there any men­tion of ac­tions in­tended to avoid con­tam­i­nat­ing the storm-wa­ter sys­tem. Roofs, drive­way sumps, street sumps, and the kerb and chan­nel in the street all form part of the lo­cal storm-wa­ter net­work which drains un­treated wa­ter to our streams and rivers. The ar­ti­cle re­ferred to clean­ing prod­ucts to use but not that use of them po­ten­tially con­tam­i­nates our wa­ter­ways if it gets into drains. There was no men­tion of di­vert­ing down­pipes if clean­ing roofs, or try­ing to avoid wash wa­ter go­ing into drains. There are no en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly de­ter­gents, whether mar­keters call them biodegrad­able or not, they are all con­tam­i­nants in their own right, let alone the ma­te­ri­als they are used to help re­move.

Among other tasks I do pol­lu­tion re­sponse and we still get many in­ci­dents in­volv­ing paint be­ing washed into storm-wa­ter drains, along with count­less poor wash­ing prac­tice in­ci­dents and wash­ing of con­cret­ing equip­ment (highly al­ka­line).

The single big­gest cause is peo­ple not know­ing bet­ter, not un­der­stand­ing where drains go, or fail­ing to read the la­bels on the paint tins — we had Du­lux and Re­sene change their in­struc­tions over a decade back (they used to say wash up in wa­ter, now they are more spe­cific).

If you are do­ing fur­ther ar­ti­cles that in­volve clean­ing or wash­ing of equip­ment (e.g., brushes) then it would be help­ful if your mag­a­zine could as­sist in the ed­u­ca­tion of the pub­lic and re­in­force good prac­tice.

A good guide I use for peo­ple is if you would not swim in it then why would you think it was OK for a storm-wa­ter drain and the fish down­stream? I also note that peo­ple use de­ter­gents/clean­ing agents to help them clean some­thing they don’t value from some­thing they do value and send it some­where they gen­er­ally haven’t thought about.

Thanks guys, Gor­don Ge­orge (via Shed web­site)

Thanks Gor­don and we have to take those com­ments on the chin. Our bad. We will sched­ule an ar­ti­cle in a fu­ture is­sue re. waste prod­ucts of all types and how we — re­spon­si­ble shed­dies that we are — should deal with dis­posal is­sues. Ap­pre­ci­ate you bring­ing this to our at­ten­tion. — Ed­i­tor

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