Help protect our harbour

Porirua Harbour is our city’s biggest natural asset and we all have a responsibility to look after it and protect it from harm.

A big part of protecting our harbour is stopping untreated pollutants from getting into the harbour and streams through the stormwater system.

We introduced a  Stormwater Bylaw in August 2015 to ban the tipping, spilling and washing of common contaminants into Porirua’s storm drains. 

What can’t go down stormwater drains?

These common household pollutants are now banned from the stormwater system:

  • cleaning products, including detergents and disinfectants such as bleach and '30 Seconds' type outdoor cleaners 
  • paint and solvents, including turpentine and paint stripper 
  • water-blasting waste 
  • liquid fuels such as petrol and diesel, motor oil, grease and radiator coolant 
  • cooking oil 
  • cement wash or slurry and concrete cutting waste, including wash from new exposed aggregate driveways. 

How can I get rid of waste safely?

Cleaning products: Tip washing water either down the sink (which goes to the wastewater system) or onto your lawn or garden. Take any unneeded cleaning products to the landfill in a sealed container.

Water-blasting waste: Water run-off can go onto your garden or lawn. Paint flakes should be collected and put in your household rubbish. Older houses may have lead-based paint, so always collect and dispose of flakes carefully.

Solvents and liquid fuels: Take to the landfill in sealed containers (a small charge applies).

Liquid paint: Water-based paint can be cleaned from brushes in your laundry sink. For solvents used to clean oil-based paints from brushes, leave the solids to settle out and then reuse the solvents. Take any excess solvents to the landfill in closed containers for safe disposal (a small charge applies).

Leftover paint: Small amounts of paint can be left to dry and disposed of with your household rubbish. Check with your local paint store about products to harden waste paint for easy disposal. Paint tins that are reasonably clean can go into your recycling. Leftover paint can be taken to the landfill or Resene Colorshop in Porirua for recycling, reuse or safe disposal. Dulux Trade Centres in Lower Hutt and Wellington City also have a Paint Take-Back service. A small charge may apply, depending on the brand, type and amount of paint.

Motor oil, grease and radiator coolant: Take to the landfill in a sealed container (a small charge may apply).

Cooking oil:  Wash small amounts down the sink and put larger amounts into the garden/compost or take it to the landfill.

Cement wash or slurry, or concrete cutting waste: This should be channelled onto your garden. Small amounts can be tipped out to harden and then disposed of with your household rubbish. Take large amounts to the landfill.

Pesticides and herbicides: Limit use of these chemicals on your land or garden. Avoid spraying near drains and waterways. These are harmful to fish, birds and stream and harbour life

Any other chemicals labelled as dangerous: Always take in sealed containers to the landfill and discuss with the staff on duty.

Tyres: Take these to the landfill (a small charge applies).

How should I wash my car at home?

Run-off from washing vehicles contains pollutants including detergents, dirt, oil and heavy metals that are harmful to the environment. Nearly half of Porirua households wash their vehicles on driveways. With at least 58,000 cars across the Porirua Harbour catchment (Census 2013 estimate), the run-off from even some of these vehicles going into stormwater drains is damaging. 

  • Wash your car on grass if you can, or divert the wash water from your drive or road using old towels or similar to channel it into the garden or grass. If your driveway drains back onto your property and a lawn or garden, this is sufficient to avoid pollutant run-off.
  • If you can't divert the wash water, reduce the run-off by using a bucket and cloths rather than a hose. 
  • Empty the dirty water from the bucket into your laundry sink or gully trap so that it goes into the wastewater system to be treated. 
  • Some eco-friendly carwash detergents are better for the environment (especially ones that are low in phosphates which promote the growth of algae in our streams and harbour), but even if you use these or no detergent, the many pollutants in the grime are still being washed off.
  • You can't wash your car on a public grass berm - perhaps go to a commercial car wash where run-off is collected and treated, or go to a community carwash fundraiser.

How else can I help stop harbour pollution?

Report pollution incidents immediately to the Greater Wellington Regional Council 24-hour Environment Hotline: phone 0800 496 734

Adopt a drain. Locate the nearest stormwater drain to your house and help to keep it clear of leaves and rubbish so that rainwater can move freely into it in heavy rain.

Recycle and bag light items like plastic and paper together to weigh them down on windy days, this is especially for your kerbside rubbish bin .

Pick up any loose rubbish and report any dumped rubbish immediately: phone (04) 237 5089. 

Bury or put dog droppings in the rubbish. Droppings on paths, in gutters or stormwater drains carry many germs that once washed into our waterways and harbour cause serious health risks.

Why isn’t our stormwater treated?

There are more than 72 stormwater outfalls around Porirua Harbour, and many more discharging to our streams. Sending stormwater to the Wastewater Treatment Plant is not practical, due to the huge amount of rainwater that would need to be captured and pumped for treatment. 

Simple behaviour changes by residents and ratepayers are the least costly way to reduce harbour pollution from common household activities and chemical use.

How can I get involved and help to protect the harbour?

Getting involved in local environmental groups or programmes is a great way to help keep Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour clean and the City beautiful. Local groups include the following: 

Other ways you can get involved are:

  • helping out with local vegetation plantings and clean-ups advertised in local papers and on social media
  • finding out about environmental projects for your school, club or group: phone (04) 237 5089 or email [email protected] 
  • Start your own group to adopt and look after a section of stream or harbour edge. The Councils will be keen to advise and support you.
  • Predator Free volunteer community groups are establishing all around the catchment and supported by Greater Wellington Regional Council. Contact the regional council for more information.
  • If you are a business, then join the Take Charge pollution prevention programme to improve your businesses environmental performance: phone 0800 496 734 or [email protected]
  • Supporting  the Greater Wellington Regional Council advisory group, Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Committee, which is working with the community to help influence the way our land and water are managed: [email protected] or phone (04) 830 4237.