If you love the waterways and coastline of the Northern Beaches, you don’t want to be confronted by floating rubbish, or see our natural aquatic ecosystems damaged.

Stormwater is the biggest source of water pollution and there is a lot we can all do to prevent it. Remember, the drain is just for rain. 

What goes into stormwater starts on land

Whenever it rains, contaminants and rubbish get washed into stormwater drains. Visible and dissolved pollutants run into our waterways from household roofs, gardens, driveways and roads. This includes litter (cigarette butts, cans, paper or plastic bags), chemicals (paint, detergents, oil, heavy metals, pesticide or fertiliser) and “natural” pollution (leaves, garden clippings, soil or animal droppings).

What Council is doing about water pollution

To continue the protection of our ocean and waterways, Council has adopted a Zero Waste to Ocean Charter. The charter has been adopted to guide Council and the community to protect our environment and focus on where our waste ends up.

The charter complements the Protect. Create. Live – Northern Beaches Environment and Climate Change Strategy 2040 by aligning with the goal:  

Our catchments and waterways will be healthy and resilient; valued and enjoyed by our community.  They will be protected and enhanced as an integrated system; connecting built, natural and cultural elements.

What you can do about water pollution

Just by being aware of where stormwater pollution comes from, and making an effort to change habits in your local catchment, you can help create huge benefits for your local creeks, bays and beaches.

In your garden

  • Put leaves and grass clippings into compost or onto garden as mulch
  • Cover piles of soil, sand or mulch
  • Build barriers around your garden beds to contain the soil
  • Use organic fertilisers
  • Have your sewer checked
  • Install rainwater tanks and/or systems to divert roof water directly to gardens.

On the go

  • Pick up your dog’s droppings with a plastic bag and put them in a bin
  • Don’t litter
  • Carry a container for your cigarette butts
  • Carry rubbish from picnics home

When you maintain your car

  • Use a service station car washing bay or a car wash that recycles water
  • Wash your car on lawn and pour any leftover soapy water onto the lawn
  • Regularly service your car

When you paint and renovate

  • When you use water-based paint, clean up over soil
  • Keep oil-based paint, turps and solvents clear of gutters and drains
  • Reuse turps once paint has settled
  • Allow unwanted paint to dry out, then take tins to a Chemical CleanOut event or licensed landfill
  • Don’t hose sand or gravel, or wash out cement mixers or barrows, so waste flows into street gutters
  • Don’t leave piles of sand or gravel uncovered where it can wash or blow into street gutters

Construction sites

  • When building, landscaping or renovating, always use appropriate sediment and erosion
  • Store chemicals in a properly maintained bunded and covered storage area
  • 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

  • Clean up wind-blown takeaway litter
  • Store oil and waste water correctly
  • Clean out your grease trap regularly

How to report water pollution incidents

Please report a water pollution issue to Council. Please include the time and date of the water pollution incident, details of pollution, details of where the pollution was discovered, whether you witnessed the pollution incident occurring and details of the incident and your contact details.

If the water pollution you’re reporting is urgent, or a hazardous situation you think may cause physical harm to a person or property, please call us 24/7 on 1300 434  434.