Mitigation and Best Practice measures

What can you do?

There are many different avenues which you can take to reduce pollution transportation into the local waterways. These range from simple knowledge of what not to pour down stormwater pipes (like motor oil) through to joining one of the local community groups or organisations to actively participate in stream rehabilitation activities. Everyone in the community can influence the quality of stormwater.

An important factor to recognise is that all outside drains from the roof and from your property are connected to the stormwater system. Rain and other water runs from outdoor household drains down the gutters of the roadways into drains under the road, which connect to our natural waterways, or to large open drains and to the ocean without treatment. Only clean rainfall runoff should enter this system. The sewer takes wastewater to treatment works, before being piped to the sea or irrigated over land such as golf courses. Strong wastes, like solvents and oils, need treatment at specialised facilities.

We've listed a few ideas for how you can do a part to decrease pollution contamination into our waterways...

Things you can do at home...

  • Put rubbish where it belongs, and recycle as much as you can following the Christchurch City Council new waste and recycling collection method.
  • Clean outdoor driveways and paths by dry sweep instead of hosing, disposing of solids in the garden or waste bin, and tye down loose recyclable material until it is collected.
  • Ensure building works on your property do not pollute the stormwater system by lying tarpaulins to catch sand blasted-paint, and covering stockpiles especially if they contain sand and risk erosion by wind.
  • Isolate floor drainage of covered work areas from stormwater systems using surface grade changes and catchdrains and dry sweep areas to clean.
  • Wastewater from roof cleaning operations must be allowed to soak into a garden or lawn, or be directed to a sewer via a gully trap, and must not be discharged to the stormwater system.
  • Collect pet faeces from animal enclosures regularly and bury, give to fertiliser companies if appropriate, or dispose in sealed bags for waste collection. Collect carry a pooper scooper when walking with dogs. Do not wash faeces into gutters.
  • Reduce paved areas as this will decrease runoff by allowing water to soak into the soil. Check building footings are not disposing of water to the detriment of other properties, and direct domestic rainwater runoff to garden and lawn areas.
  • Direct swimming pool backflush to sewers via a gully trap. If a pool is salt-treated, dispose water to garden areas where salt-tolerant species such as wattle and bottle brush are planted (recommended) and irrigate with good quality water periodically.
  • Fertilisers and chemicals should be sparsely used and never near drains and natural waterways. Look for less hazardous alternative materials.
  • The use of pestiticides can spread their active toxic component, which can harm water-dwelling organisms. While little may be known about their decomposition processes, they should not be unnecessarily released in forms of herbicides, insecticides, or rodenticides into the environment.
  • Green litter and biodegradable substances break down in waterways and reduce oxygen levels, sometimes settling to form methane or, in salt water, hydrogen sulphide. These conditions are toxic to aquatic life so by keeping organic waste out of stormwater and urban waterway systems you are protecting the lives of fish and other organisms. Sweep up grass cuttings and leaf litter from street gutters near your property, driveways, and footpaths, and dispose of to your compost, garden, a green organics recycling bin or depot.

What you can do with vehicles and transportation...

There are a few simple things you can do to reduce transportation related pollution.
Reduce car usage to improve stormwater and air quality by diminishing vehicle contaminant runoff: the main pollutants from cars and trucks are lead from exhaust fumes, copper from brake wear, zinc from tyre wear, and oils from leaks and exhaust. These heavy metals have a direct affect on any living organisms within the catchment waterway.

  • Where possible, consider using public transport and car pooling, walking and cycling more often.
  • Regularly have your car serviced to avoid oil and coolant leakage.
  • Wash all vehicles on grassy surfaces to allow washwater to soad into the ground and kept out of the stormwater system, or use a commercial carwash where the wastewater is directed to the sewer.
  • Carry a bag for litter in your car; most litter is found along busy roads which usually discharge into waterways.
  • Dont pour old motor oil into the gutter on the street.

Community Involvement

You can also join a community group which actively supports waterways preservation.
This section is under development as new initiatives arise.

The University of Canterbury has many student-led initiatives on matters relating to urban susainability. Several of these groups can be contacted by visiting the links page.

Tree plantings occur throughout the local neighbourhood as part of council and community led initiatives. Through some programmes local schools participate in local plantings.

What large scale initiatives can take place?

There are large scale initiatives organised by the Christchurch City Council and the Environment Canterbury Regional Council.
In order for large scale rehabilitations to take place, the all important source of funding must be sourced. There are many avenues for this to take place, however these are usually driven by other local area infrastructure development if Council-driven, or through a form of property development if Business-driven. Community driven large scale initiatives involving rehabilitation are rare, and would usually be funded through fundraising or philanthropy.