Wastewater from roof cleaning can run directly into our creeks, rivers and waterways.
Stormwater pollution from roof cleaning
Roof and gutter downpipes connect directly to roadside gutters, stormwater drains and into our waterways. This means wastewater run-off from roof cleaning ends up in our creeks, rivers and the ocean. Pollutants, like oxides, algae, paint flakes, concrete and sediment can kill seagrass, aquatic plants and marine life. By taking some simple steps when cleaning and restoring roofs, you can help protect our waterways.
Allowing polluted wastewater to enter stormwater drains, roadside gutters or waterways is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and may attract a fine. Repeat offenders may be prosecuted.
Also, using water blasters or high pressure cleaners on asbestos cement roofing or other asbestos containing material is illegal. Cleaning a fibro roof with a high-pressure water blaster destroys the roof surface, causing cement debris and asbestos to spray into the air, resulting in widespread asbestos contamination. This type of asbestos clean-up cost can be significant.
Protecting the environment
We all must work together to keep waterways clean and must make sure only clean water enters out stormwater systems. Below are some steps that you could take when cleaning a roof:
disconnect downpipes and redirect wastewater to the garden, or to a holding tank for disposal by a licensed liquid waste disposal contractor
if disconnecting downpipes is not possible, block the downpipe and feed the wastewater onto lawns or gardens
drill a hole in the gutter or downpipe, block the downpipe (below the hole) and divert water to garden beds. When complete, the hole can be plugged with a grommet
use sandbags or a portable bund to contain water in the roadside gutter to protect stormwater drains from accidentals spills and runoff.
Other helpful tips
Always keep a spill response kit, including a shovel, broom and rags, to clean-up nearby. Do not wash or hose waste into the stormwater drain.
Keep cleaning times to a minimum.
Be aware that wastewater drainage pipes from some houses may drain directly into a nearby waterway or subsurface stormwater pipe (not to a roadside gutter). In this case, downpipes must be disconnected, and the water drained to a soakage area, like the garden or lawn.
If wastewater does accidently drain to the stormwater gutter, remove all captured wastewater as soon as possible using a vacuum or bilge pump and direct to lawns or gardens, making sure no wastewater flows into the stormwater drain.
Sandbags and portable bunds in the roadside gutter will capture accidental spills and runoff. They are not designed to hold wastewater from a full roof clean.
For business owners, please ensure all of your staff are aware of these requirements.