Call for the public’s help to report pollution

Media Release - 21 December 2018

Otago Regional Council (ORC) relies on the public to help stay on top of instances of pollution around Otago. How quickly we know about an environmental incident makes a huge difference to how well it can be investigated.

“The public are our eyes and ears when it comes to identifying pollution around Otago,” said Martin King, ORC Manager Environmental Services.

A common issue around this time of the year is stormwater pollution. “Lots of people may be washing their cars, painting or doing other work on the street or in their driveways, not realising what goes into the gutters can go straight into a waterway,” said Mr King.

Most stormwater isn’t treated before it drains into our local waterways. A stormwater system is designed to prevent flooding by collecting rainwater that runs off roofs and paved areas such as roads, parking lots and driveways.

Whatever goes into the drain outside houses – whether it’s poured in intentionally or washed down with rainwater – enters our waterways in virtually the same untreated condition. This is why it is important to only drain rain to protect our streams, rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

“Unfortunately, when we get reports of pollution that have come from stormwater drains, it is very difficult to find the source so we can take action. This is why it is so important for the public to keep an eye out and also report any behaviour causing pollution,” said Mr King.

For more information on what you can do at home to prevent stormwater pollution, go to If you see any instances of pollution, please call the 24/7 pollution hotline on 0800 800 033 or email

An example of paint entering a stormwater drain

An example of paint entering a creek from a stomrwater drain


For further information please contact
Martin King
Manager Environmental Services

Communications contact
Emma Schranz
Senior Media Advisor

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