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Water Pollution

Georges River has many areas for the community to enjoy including a number of spectacular parks located along the 38km of foreshore on the Georges River and local creeks. These areas are also home to many local aquatic and wildlife. Eastern Water Dragon on a rock at Lime Kiln Bay

It is unpleasant and distressing to see floating rubbish, water discolouration or polluted aquatic ecosystems which can be easily avoided. One of the most common ways pollutants enter the waterways is via stormwater.  

Whenever it rains, contaminants and rubbish are washed into the stormwater drains. Visible and dissolved pollutants run into the waterways from roofs, gardens, driveways and roads. These include:

  • Litter (cigarette butts, cans, paper or plastic bags).
  • Sediment (from road works or building sites).
  • Chemicals (paint, detergents, oil, heavy metals, pesticides or fertiliser).
  • Natural pollution (leaves, garden clippings, soil or animal droppings).

Water pollution can be caused by both point source (such as industrial premises and sewer overflows) and diffuse sources (such as stormwater runoff from urban streets). 

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) legislates and provides a legal framework for investigating and preventing water pollution in NSW.

Image of pollution incident and water overflow at Kerrang St Beverly Hills

 Pollution incident on 28 April 2020 at Kerrang St Beverly Hills


What can be done about Water Pollution?

Understanding how daily activities can add to stormwater pollution, and making an effort to change the way these activities are carried out can create huge benefits for our local river, creeks and bays.

At home and in the garden

Did you know that most drainage points in a residential backyard are linked to the stormwater drain? Here are some simple ways to avoid water pollution around the home and garden.
  • Put leaves and grass clippings into compost or onto the garden as mulch. This way, the leaves and grass clippings are contained reducing the risk of  being blown into  stormwater drains.
  • Cover piles of soil, sand or mulch to prevent them being washed into the stormwater drains during rain or in windy events.
  • Build barriers around garden beds to contain the soil to prevent soil being washed into stormwater drains.
  • Wash cars on the lawn and pour any leftover soapy water onto the lawn. If an area of lawn is not available, use a commercial car washing service, they are equipped with catchment drains that prevent polluted waters entering the stormwater drains. 
  • Place all waste into a waste bin and all recyclable into a recycling bin. Avoid allowing bins to overflow as waste can end up in  stormwater drains. Putrescible waste should be bagged before placing into the waste bin. 
  • Ensure waste bins are in good repair. Broken or cracked bins can allow waste to escape and enter stormwater drains.Contact Council to arrange a replacement bin.
  • Wash bins on the lawn and avoid allowing the waste water from entering the stormwater drains.  

On the go

  • When walking the dog, pick up their droppings.  Place them in a bag and dispose of in a waste bin.  
  • Don’t litter.  When out and about, ensure all waste generated from your activity is collected and placed in a bin.  If a bin is not available take it home and put it in your waste bin. 
  • Carry a container for cigarette butts. 

Painting and Renovating

  • Use water-based paint where possible and clean up equipment in a contained area to avoid polluted water entering the stormwater drains.
  • Keep oil-based paint, turpentine and solvents away from gutters and drains. 
  • Allow unwanted paint to dry out in its tin and take to a chemical drop off centre or a licensed landfill.
  • Don’t hose sand or gravel, or wash out cement mixers or wheel barrows where the waste water can enter stormwater drains.
  • Don’t leave piles of sand or gravel uncovered where it can wash or blow into street gutters.

Construction Sites


  • Store chemicals in a contained and covered storage area to prevent leakage into the stormwater system.  
  • Keep adequately stocked spill kits on hand and make sure staff know how to use them.
    • Never, ever hose chemical spills down the drain.

Restaurants and Cafés

  • Keep premises clean by picking up loose waste generated or wind-blown litter in and around the premises. 
  • Store all used oil in a sealable container for recycling. 
  • Dispose of waste water into the sewer and not the stormwater drain.
  • Clean out your grease trap regularly to avoid clogging that can result in an overflow.

How to Report Water Pollution Incidents

Report water pollution incidents to Council online or visit our Contact Us page. When reporting an incident, the following information will help officers to investigate the matter more effectively and efficiently:

  • The time and date of the water pollution incident
  • Details of the nature of the pollution
  • Details of where the pollution was discovered
  • Details of any witnesses,
  • Details of the incident, and
  • Your contact details.
If it is believed that the pollutant in the water is hazardous (may cause physical harm to a person or property), please call the NSW Police or Fire Department on 000.

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