Is your business or place of work polluting our waterways  - find out below

Why should we be concerned ?  Just like water from our homes, water from our businesses  eventually flows into nearby rivers, either via the sewer system and treatment plants or stormwater channels. 

Rivers are much closer than you think and what gets poured down the drains at work may be causing unnecessary pain for our rivers, especially the wildlife.  Pollution can also make our urban lakes unfit for swimming and other recreational uses. 

We all have some impact on the quality of water that passes through our places of work. There are lots of ways each business can reduce its river footprint.  Try our quick general checklist below to see how you can be a responsible worker or business operator and help revive our rivers.

In the coming months we will have available more detailed checklist for a range of business types. 

If sponsors come on board this will be sooner.

Once you've done this audit, why not go on to do the checklist to find out how to save water around the workplace too.

Business - river pollution general checklist

(Suggestion: you may want to print this out so you can write on it as you work through or download it as a pdf file here)

 

Kitchenette or staff rooms:

 

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Do you avoid pouring down the sink oil and fatty substances ?

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Do you avoid pouring milk down the sink ?

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Do you use liquid detergents and cleaning products that are river-friendly - low in phosphorus, chlorine and solvents ?  (look for the NP - no phosphorus symbol)

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Do you try to minimise the amount of detergent used when hand washing and in the dish washer.  Many people say you need much less than the manufacturers recommend.

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Do you use a composting or worm farm system to keep vegetable matter out of our
waterways ?

 

Bathrooms and showers:

 

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Do you use soaps and cleaning products that are river-friendly - low in phosphorus for example (see above).  For cleaning products, avoid those high in chlorides.

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Do you have your work showers hooked up to a grey water recycling system ?

 

Toilets:

 

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Do you use toilet bowl fresheners that are non-toxic ?

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If you have one, do you have your septic tank serviced regularly ?

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Do you clean your toilets with environment-friendly products (see above)?

 

Parking areas and other hard surfaces:

 

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Do the cleaners sweep rather than hose down these areas to avoid washing oil, grease etc into stormwater drains ?

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Are the business vehicles washed at a car washing facility that recycles and cleans its water ?

 

Workshop (where this applies):

 

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Do you avoid washing paint brushes (or similar) in the sink or over the stormwater drain ?

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Do you avoid pouring paint and turpentine down the drain ?

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Do you dispose of excess or used oil, degreaser, mower or car fuel etc in an environmentally-friendly way ?  These have devastating impacts on our rivers and wildlife.

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Do you monitor the water quality of other by-products of your business operation that may be harmful to our rivers and wildlife, and as necessary treat or hold these effluents ?

 

Gardens and lawns:

 

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Do those who maintain these areas avoid using fertilisers when the forecast is for rain ? Otherwise they simply wash down into our rivers helping to create algal blooms.

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Are steps taken to avoid soil erosion or run-off through bare ground areas.  Soil clogs our rivers and smothers plant life.

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Are enviro-friendly pesticides and herbicides used in the garden areas?  Avoiding them altogether is better.  Try hand-pulling weeds instead.  Don't use pesticides and herbicides if rain is forecast.

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Do your gardening staff avoid washing or rinsing weed spraying equipment in the sink or near the stormwater.  Even small residues of these poisons (see below) can also have serious impacts on rivers and wildlife.

 

Renovations, or business expansions:

 

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Do you take steps to avoid soil erosion or run-off through exposed or excavated areas.  In most places now builders are required to take steps to prevent soil washing into stormwater drains...make sure yours does.

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Do you ensure builders or tradies you engage are also doing the right things and not pouring the by-products of their work down the drains ?

 

There are 22 questions above.  If your business scored above 18, then you're doing a great job. Keep it up, and maybe try to get closer to 22 next time.  Between 12 and 18 there's clearly scope to do better. Under 12, then your business certainly has room for improvement.  Set some targets, and re-do this checklist in a few months time to see what difference there is.....the rivers will thank you. 

 

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