Community & Environment

Caring for our waterways while staying in our bubbles

The windy, rainy autumn weather helps make staying at home in our bubbles a lot more appealing during the Alert Level 4 lockdown. Autumn’s also a good time to get all those little jobs done before winter sets in, jobs like cleaning the gutters or emptying swimming pools.

But we also need to ensure we are not creating unnecessary call outs for Hamilton City Council’s essential workers.

Maire Porter, the Council’s City Waters Manager, is particularly concerned about a spike in the number of calls recently received regarding the city’s stormwater.

“We’re noticing a number of calls coming in from the public reporting water leaks, but then it’s actually turned out to be someone emptying or backwashing their pool and the water has run out onto the street or driveway and into the stormwater catchpits or drains,” she says.

“This not only creates unnecessary call outs for our essential workers but can also result in contaminated water entering our city’s stormwater network.

A street stormwater catchpit or drain is for stormwater only.

A street stormwater catchpit or drain is for stormwater only.

“Everything that goes down these stormwater drains on our streets, whether it be backwash water, pesticides or car wash soap, for example, can make its way into our streams and ultimately the Waikato river, and can potentially kill the plant and animal life living in our city’s waterways.”

Ms Porter wants Hamiltonians to help ensure these drains are used for stormwater, and stormwater only, and if emptying a swimming pool, it’s best to slowly discharge the pool water onto the grass and gardens so it soaks away without flooding neighbouring properties or entering the stormwater network.

“Emptying pools onto grass and gardens shouldn’t be done when it’s raining, and checks should be made to ensure the water isn’t flowing off your property,” she says.

Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves, can also lead to blocked stormwater drains and surface flooding which essential workers must respond to.

“We’re seeking everyone’s assistance during this time to help lessen the risk of flooding by having a quick check to ensure the drain located in your street in front of your property is clear of leaves and rubbish,” says Ms Porter.

“While some of the leaf fall hot spots around the city are still being swept routinely during Alert Level 4, any help from the public to make these quick checks will help reduce the number of flooding-related callouts. ”

Let’s all do our bit to help keep ourselves and others safe.”

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