Water is essential to human life and the health of the environment. Our water resources include marine, estuarine, freshwater and groundwater environments and are of major environmental, social and economic value.
If water quality is not maintained, it is not just the environment that will suffer, the commercial and recreational value of our water resources will also diminish.
Water quality is closely linked to the surrounding environment and land use. A healthy environment is one in which the water quality supports a rich and varied community of organisms and protects public health.
Stormwater is pure rainwater plus anything the rain carries along with it. In urban areas, rain that falls on the roof of your house, or collects on paved areas like driveways, roads and footpaths is carried away through a system of pipes that is separate from the sewerage system. When it rains, stormwater run-off washes oil, grease, dirt, fertilisers, chemicals, leaves, cigarette butts and litter from our yards and streets, into gutters and drains. Unlike sewage, stormwater is not treated. It flows directly from streets and gutters into our creeks and Botany Bay.
Water pollution happens when any solid, liquid or gaseous matter is introduced into any natural waterway, creek, gutter or storm water drainage system so that the physical, chemical or biological condition of the waters is changed. Botany Bay City Council is responsible for the investigation and enforcement of many water pollution incidents in the council area. The NSW Environment Protection Authority investigates incidents from many larger industry premises that have a licence with the Authority.
What you can do?
The most effective way to reduce stormwater pollution is to stop it entering the system in the first place. Stormwater pollution can be controlled if everyone plays a part in managing the drains in the streets where they live and work. If we all look after our local gutters and drains, we can dramatically improve what happens in the creeks, on the beaches and in Botany Bay.
Small steps that you can take to contribute
- Pick up after your dog.
- Wash your car on the grass not on the street or the driveway
- Collect your garden waste and leaves, don’t sweep them into the gutter
- Don’t litter, put your rubbish in the bin.
- Don’t throw your cigarette butts on the ground, put them in a container and dispose of them in a bin.
- Don’t wash your paint brushes in the gutter or over the drain that goes to stormwater.
Take unwanted paint and chemicals to a Household Chemical Cleanout day.