Painting Weather Not so Good for Ducks

22 November 2010

The latest pollution incident in the Botanic Garden duck pond has prompted a plea from Wellington City Councillor Ngaire Best for Kelburn and Northland residents to ensure only water enters stormwater drains.

The pond was turned a vivid shade of white late last week - possibly by someone in the area washing paintbrushes and allowing the residues to enter the stormwater system.

"Street-side drains or sumps are direct links to our waterways. No treatment, no filtering - nothing happens between what goes in the gutter and what ends up in streams and the sea."

The duck pond is fed by the Pipitea and Puketea streams and stormwater drains in Kelburn and Northland empty directly into them. Water from the pond eventually reaches Wellington Harbour near Westpac Stadium.

"So the message is please, people, don't put anything down there you wouldn't want your children swimming in."

Councillor Best is the Council's new Three Waters and Waste Portfolio Leader. She says the onset of warm weather seems to prompt more pollution. "It seems we get an increase in incidents around this time of year as people work on their houses, gardens and cars."

Common pollutants include paints, oil, dirty radiator water, cement and litter, including cigarette butts and dog droppings.

"We're basically tipping this stuff straight in our streams as if they were sewers, and it's got to stop."

Anyone caught polluting waterways - including by tipping anything other than pure water down street-side drains - can be liable for thousands of dollars in fines. Councillor Best suggests people wash cars on grass or at a carwash, take waste chemicals, oil etc to specific sections at council landfills; and rinse painting equipment in the laundry sink.

For more information check:

Be the Difference - Greater Wellington Regional Council website