Unlike sewage, stormwater is not treated. In some cases larger items are filtered through physical traps, but it still flows directly from your street and gutter into the harbour inhabited by fish and other aquatic animals and plants. The North Sydney central business district (CBD) is one of the largest in Australia and the stormwater runoff has an environmental impact on the harbour waters through the deposit of pollutants such as litter, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, sediments, silt and other contaminants.
After rainfall stormwater carries litter and other contamination out into the harbour. You may be advised not to swim for a couple of days at affected beaches as the pollution carried along with the rainwater may pose a significant health risk. The most effective way to reduce stormwater pollution is to stop it entering the system in the first place.
Typical activities that should be avoided at home and in the street include:
- Car washing on the street: Allowing detergent to run down the street drain.
- Fixing car on the street: Allowing oil or coolant to flow into the street drain.
- Disposing garden waste: Allowing leaves to accumulate in gutters or driveways.
- Dropping litter: Litter will be swept into the street drains next time it rains.
- Cleaning paint brushes: Allowing contaminated water into the street drain.
- Hosing the footpath: Allowing water to carry dirt & other waste into street drains.
- Not picking up dog waste: Droppings will be carried into the stormwater system.
Typical activities that should be avoided at work include:
- Restaurants: Not cleaning out grease trap or putting oil into stormwater drain
- Vehicle repairers & printers: Letting oil, chemicals or other waste flow into the street drain
- Builders: Not shielding street drains from spilt chemicals or excess soil, sand, gravel or other building waste
- All work places: Letting cigarette butts or litter fall into gutters or on driveways; letting chemicals, detergents or other harmful fluids run into street drains.
Members of the public can report cases of water pollution to North Sydney Council for investigation.
More information: Council Customer Service Centre, 9936 8100