Preventing pollution & flooding

Information about the harm caused by stormwater pollution, and what you can do to help.

Dolphins off Wellington's south coast - photo by Jim Mikoz.

Dolphins off Wellington's south coast - photo by Jim Mikoz

Impact of stormwater pollution

Stormwater is discharged into the sea and surrounding waterways. When stormwater is contaminated, the sea and waterways become polluted.

Pollution in the sea and waterways can:

  • destroy plants and poison fish
  • harm people's health
  • limit swimming and other recreation activities
  • spoil the appearance of the city.

Stormwater can be polluted by paint, detergent, cleaning products, oil, grease, dog faeces, chemicals, silt, litter or anything else that washes down stormwater pipes when it rains.

Under the Resource Management Act, it's illegal to allow anything other than rain to enter the stormwater system.

Minimising pollution

Wellington's stormwater structure and regular maintenance programmes are designed to minimise the amount of litter that gets into the stormwater system. Methods include:

  • inspecting and clearing stormwater intakes, which catch most of the debris and sediment
  • inspecting and clearing road sumps, which have a baffle plate to catch floatable rubbish
  • sweeping and removing litter from kerb channels
  • a proactive pollution sampling programme around the city's large culverts and beaches, which includes a visual check.

How you can help

Whether you're a resident or a business, you can do your part to help keep the stormwater network healthy. Every year the Council responds to about 12,000 calls to fix leaks and other problems with water, sewer and stormwater systems.

Report a Pollution Problem

To report a pollution incident or marine oil spill, contact:

Greater Wellington Regional Council
24 Hour Pollution Hotline
Phone: 0800 496 734

If you come across a stormwater pollution problem, contact the Council with details of where we'll find the leak:

Prevent pollution at home and at work

Public awareness and careful habits can help reduce stormwater pollution. These resources outline how you can help prevent stormwater pollution at work and at home:

Help stop the theft of stormwater drain grates

Keep an eye out for suspicious activity around stormwater drain grates to help prevent the theft of the cast-iron covers. Without the covers the holes could cause serious injury, in particular to cyclists and small children. Phone 0800 555 111 Crimestoppers if you get information about grate cover thefts.

Keep stormwater drains clear

When there's bad weather, you can help prevent serious flooding by removing rubbish or leaves from nearby roadside drains.