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How to stop paint polluting our waterways

​​How paint damages our waterways

Paints and thinners contain a number of harmful substances that severely affect our waterways.

The impacts include:

  • poisoning animals that drink water from the stream
  • restricting light entering a stream
  • smothering organisms, and clogging the gills and eyes of fish
  • reducing oxygen levels in waterways, making fish and shellfish unsuitable for consumption, and killing plant and animal aquatic life.

How to stop paint polluting our waterways

Before you begin work:

  • cover and protect all stormwater drains while you are painting
  • don't paint in the rain
  • keep all paint tins and equipment well away from stormwater drains
  • use water-based paints wherever possible.

How to clean your paint equipment

Keep our waterways safe by:

  • never washing off paint where it will flow to a stormwater drain or natural watercourse
  • cleaning the site and removing all excess paint and paint chips
  • not putting paint waste into the stormwater system.

Water-based paint equipment can be washed:

  • in sinks that go to a municipal sanitary sewer system (not a septic system)
  • on an unsealed surface such as a lawn or gravel.

How to dispose of your paint

  • You can filter out paint chips and re-use the paint – or take it to a hazardous waste facility.
  • You must not put thinners or solvents into the sewer system.

How to store your paint

Store your paint and thinners in sealed containers and place them securely indoors.

You should know

We all need to protect and take care of our environment.

It is illegal to put paint into our waterways and the stormwater system.

You can be fined up to $1000, issued abatement notices, or prosecuted and fined up to $600,000 for breaching the Resource Management Act.

 

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