Painters keen to keep it clean and out of the stream

Friday 11 January 2013, 2:54PM
By Environment Canterbury


With summer here and DIY jobs underway Environment Canterbury is reminding home handy-people around Christchurch to do the right thing when they clean paintbrushes to avoid polluting local streams and rivers.

“While many residents in and around the city are aware of the correct ways to wash their paintbrushes, there is always room for improvement,” said Kim Drummond, Environment Canterbury’s Director of Resource Management, “We are keen to see everyone doing the right thing.”

Mr Drummond is pleased that most DIYers were aware that washing paintbrushes over the grass is suitable.

“It does concern us, however, that a good deal of people still think it’s okay to clean brushes or paint near an outside drain.

“If people wash brushes and leftover paint on sealed surfaces like driveways or by stormwater grates, the waste flows untreated directly in to streams and can kill fish, plants and insects.

“We encourage householders who are doing a spot of DIY painting to wash their brushes on the lawn where it is absorbed and broken down by the sun and dispersed safely in the soil,” he said.

It is also acceptable to wash one brush a day in the laundry tub as this paint wash water is treated in the sewer system. Neither option is suitable for large quantities of paint-wash water.

Environment Canterbury’s is targeting all painters – whether professionals or DIY masters – and has prepared point-of-sale posters and pamphlets, as well as information on websites and a Facebook page.

“Thousands of houses are being painted as part of the Christchurch rebuild and many people are taking the summer holidays as a chance to do the work themselves so it is important people are aware of how to dispose of paint in the right way.”

“It is important to tackle this issue now and ensure our local waterways are protected as much as possible.”

If people see or suspect these guidelines are being ignored and rivers or streams are being effected they should call the Environment Canterbury Pollution Hotline on 0800 765 588.