Awards for champion businesses battling stormwater contamination

Five Christchurch businesses can officially add 'Stormwater Superhero' to their list of achievements thanks to their heroic efforts to keep waterways clean.

This year Cleanco Truck Wash, Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Ltd, Resource Recycling Technologies (NZ), IAG NZ Repairhub Ltd, and Red Spur Ltd have taken out the top spots in our annual Stormwater Superhero Awards.

The awards are organised by the Christchurch West Melton Water Management Zone Committee and aim to recognise and celebrate good stormwater practices across industrial workplaces and land development.

"We often focus on bad practice, so this is an opportunity to recognise the good practices and innovation of business and land developers," said committee Chair, Annabelle Hasselman.

The Stormwater Superhero Awards showcase and celebrate businesses demonstrating a commitment to the environment and protecting the health of our urban rivers.

Keeping contaminants out of stormwater drains

In urban areas of Christchurch, stormwater grates usually lead directly to waterways - including from worksites.

Not all stormwater is treated, and that's why it's important to keep contaminants out of these drains. This helps keep rivers and streams clean, creating a healthier habitat for fish, plants, and insects.

An awards panel, made up of zone committee members, Christchurch City Council and our staff, found that this year's winners went the extra mile in their stormwater practices.

Find out more about the winners!

Cleanco Truck Wash – Champion Stormwater Superhero 

The panel found that Cleanco Truck Wash had excellent containment of contaminated water and practiced good separation of liquid and solid chemicals and wastes.

Winning actions for stormwater protection:

  • A family business passionate about business and environmental sustainability.
  • Demonstrates capture, treatment and safe disposal of solid and liquid wastes.
  • Disposes of treated wastewater by sending it to an artificial wetland for final bio-treatment.
  • Undertakes safe placement and handling of hazardous chemicals.
  • Has good staff training and spill response capabilities.

Cleanco Owner Operator Steve Hohaia said they were proud to win this award.

"It shows our commitment to reducing the pressure our business puts on the stormwater system," he said.

They see protecting stormwater as an integral part of their work.

"We wanted to future-proof the business and reducing our carbon footprint was a key goal."

Oji Fibre Solutions (NZ) Ltd (OjiFS) - Champion Stormwater Superhero

The panel awarded Oji Fibre Solutions (OjiFS) new state-of-the-art 'Packaging Southern' facility, a top spot for the great implementation of their environmental management system (EMS) and avoiding contaminated stormwater leaving their facility.

Winning actions for stormwater protection:

  • A large modern cardboard manufacturing plant operating to international standards through a comprehensive EMS.
  • Minimising and recycling waste.
  • Containing, collecting and treating any wastewater, and solid wastes to avoid contamination of stormwater.
  • Safe placement and handling of hazardous chemicals and spill response training and capabilities.
  • Excellent monitoring, auditing, and reporting of environmental performance and adaptive management.

A representative from OjiFS said that this award "means a lot to the business" as it's a testament to Packaging Southern's diligent operational procedures in safeguarding water systems.
OjiFS plans to continue to invest in automation and their EMS to improve the management of water and waste to keep the stormwater system healthy.

Resource Recycling Technologies (NZ) - Champion Stormwater Superhero

Resource Recycling Technologies (RRT) received this award for excellent collaboration and adaptation to achieve best practice in treating contaminated stormwater at their Woolston metal recycling facility.

Winning actions for stormwater protection:

  • The collection, treatment and recycling of used metals is critical for an environmentally sustainable future.
  • This business commenced over 50 years ago and is meeting the challenge of increasingly stringent environmental regulation.
  • Putting in place an innovative advanced stormwater treatment system designed by e2Environmental and supplied by e2silt0 that achieves a high level of wastewater treatment before discharge into the stormwater network.
  • Good systems to test and maintain the performance of the treatment train, including use of external contractors.
  • Has made plans and some initial actions to expand this stormwater treatment facility to cover all uncovered areas at the metal recycling facility.

Terry McDonald, Director of Resource Recycling Technologies, said it's important work. "Metals can produce toxic chemicals and other dangerous substances in the recycling process."

"At RRT, all products are handled to ensure there are no spillages, leaching or pollution of any kind. We believe this is important in protecting our waterways for future generations," said Terry.

IAG NZ Repairhub Ltd - Champion Stormwater Superhero

The panel chose IAG NZ Repairhub Ltd as an award winner for its exemplary use and recycling of stormwater, as well as good stormwater treatment at its carwash in the Hornby car repair facility.

Winning actions for stormwater protection:

  • Stormwater is captured and stored for use in the vehicle washing operation.
  • Wastewater is treated and recycled for vehicle washing.
  • A high-level wastewater treatment system operates before discharge from the site.
  • Good identification and handling procedures for hazardous chemicals and spill response capabilities.
  • Good separation of uncontaminated stormwater areas from the enclosed workshop building.
  • Minimal risk of contaminating stormwater before discharge to the stormwater network.

"At Repairhub, we are very passionate about the environment and our sustainability plan. Protecting the stormwater discharge is part of this plan at every Repairhub site," said CEO Gary Geeves.

The award means a lot to the crew at Repairhub,

"We are very proud to be receiving an award as recognition of our commitment to protecting the environment" said Gary.

Red Spur Ltd - Champion Stormwater Superhero

Redmund Spur Ltd is an urban land development in the Port Hills under construction by Red Spur Ltd. It was selected as an award winner because it demonstrated excellence in collaboration, teamwork, and commitment to managing the source of contaminants entering the stormwater network.

Winning actions for stormwater protection:

  • As an urban land development on the highly erodible Port Hills, Redmund Spur is faced with serious soil erosion and control challenges. It has met these challenges with passion and commitment to succeed in minimising the amount of sediment contaminated stormwater leaving the development site.
  • Enlisting technical consulting firms and experts to build capacity and trial innovation on a progressive improvement path.
  • Managing the area of exposed soil well through the seasons by undertaking progressive development of small area stages.
  • Reducing slope lengths on sites using contour banks on slopes and drains.
  • The innovative application of small and large stormwater detention basins with stormwater treatment systems.
  • Working collaboratively with regulators to address problems and develop acceptable solutions to erosion control, sediment movement and treatment.

"Gathering data, analysing it and using this along with an ever-increasing array of tools and many practical experiments has changed the way we think and act with regard to stormwater management,” said owner, Dan van Asch.

Dan said it was a team effort, with everyone involved in the development over the last five years playing a role.

"We are very proud of the results achieved on this site and hope to be able to continue to develop our ideas and techniques with our future work," Dan said.

Superheroes acknowledged by the Christchurch Mayor

This year's award winners were celebrated in style with a special ceremony hosted by Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger.

"Congratulations to all the businesses who have won these awards," Mayor Mauger said.

"It's great to see how much effort these Christchurch companies have put in to ensure our local waterways are protected. They are making a real improvement to cleaning up our stormwater."

Each business was formally presented with a plaque by Mayor Mauger, commemorating their achievements and outstanding commitment to keeping Christchurch's waterways in good shape.

"This award gives us great pride in being recognised and knowing that our efforts are appreciated," said Terry McDonald, Director of Resource Recycling Technologies.

The Cleanco team were also very pleased to take away the award.

"We are very proud of our business and this award is for the recognition for the time and financial effort we have put into the business," said Owner Operator Steve Hohaia.

The Christchurch West Melton Water Management Zone Committee plans to run the awards again in 2024.

Tips for good stormwater practice

Annabelle Hasselman hopes the awards will inspire other workplaces to take the next step in managing run-off from their sites.

"The biggest threat to our urban rivers is from the contaminants that flow into them from stormwater."

Every business that makes a commitment to managing or treating the stormwater from their property is a win for the health of our urban rivers and groundwater."

Key tips include:

  • Clean up: Chemical spills should be cleaned up straight away. Likewise for small hardware items. Think about methods for prevention, such as installing bunds or filters.
  • Safe space for substances: Being smart with how and where industrial items are stored prevents accidents from happening in the first place and lessens the impact if they do.
  • Sweep it up: Keep the shop floor, yards and pathways clean of grit, grime and small items that could otherwise end up in our rivers when it rains.

Find out more ways to protect our waterways.