The problem with stormwater
Updated 18 July 2012 2:12pm
Some of the main pollutants that get in our stormwater include:
- litter and dog droppings from pavements and roads
- detergents from washing cars on the roadside
- dirt, leaves and lawn clippings from driveways and garden paths
- left-over paint and water used to wash up paint brushes
- used engine oil, oil leaks and spills, and radiator water
- waste cement and concrete from washing down during building and renovation work
- paint flakes and chemicals from cleaning outside walls
When pollutants like these get into the stormwater system, they can cause a lot of problems
Litter, leaves and clippings:
- breakdown in water, using up valuable oxygen
- turn up in waterways and on beaches, making them unattractive and potentially dangerous
- can injure freshwater and marine animals.
Dog and animal droppings:
- increase the concentration of hazardous bacteria in streams and rivers.
- discolour waterways and cause foaming
- cause weeds and problem algae to grow.
Dirt and sediment:
- clog fishes' gills, making it harder for them to 'breathe'
- reduce water clarity, making it harder for fish to find food
- starve plants in water of necessary light by reducing its penetration
- encourage weed growth.
Waste paint and oil:
- cause ugly oily sheens that also suffocate stream fish and insects
- contain heavy metals that are toxic.
Cement and chemicals:
- kill fish and insects
- fine particles smother stream life.