Stormwater superheroes scoop awards for their efforts

Two Christchurch businesses can officially add ‘Stormwater Superhero’ to their list of achievements – thanks to their sterling efforts to keep waterways clean.

Tunnel Wash and Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete have taken out the top two spots in this year’s revamped Stormwater Superhero Awards.

The awards are organised by the Christchurch West Melton water zone committee and aim to recognise and celebrate good stormwater practices across industrial workplaces.

Committee chair Annabelle Hasselman said staff at both businesses take real pride in ensuring they are doing right by the environment.

"They are true champions for improving stormwater."

The panel's findings

Winners Tunnel Wash in the workplace

Tunnel Wash recycles and reuses all types of water

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 water zone committee members and Environment Canterbury staff, found both Tunnel Wash and Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete went the extra mile in their stormwater practices.

The following is a summary of the panel’s findings:

Tunnel Wash – Champion Stormwater Superhero

  • A very clean and tidy car-washing site (Selwyn Street, Addington), demonstrating excellence in wastewater recycling and reuse – and in the collection and treatment of stormwater and wastewater.
  • Chemicals are safely stored and their use is automated, with good spill containment.
  • Staff training and surveillance are given priority in site management.
  • Sediment traps are routinely cleaned out and solid waste is disposed of properly.
  • Genuine desire to do the right thing, without any regulatory prompting.

Panel’s comments: "We were impressed by director Brian Court's huge passion and commitment to improving the health of our waterways with his sophisticated Tunnel Wash operation. He is leading the way for others, and is a true Stormwater Superhero."

Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete –Stormwater Superhero

  • Excellence in retrofitting zero discharge stormwater and wastewater and sediment management system at the Branston Street site in Hornby. The retrofit shows it’s possible to install solutions in constrained sites that were established a long time ago.
  • The containment, collection and treatment of stormwater and wastewater from the site enables all water to be re-used for truck washing and concrete making – meaning no discharge to council water systems.
  • Chemicals and fuels are safely stored with suitable spill containment.
  • Sediment traps are routinely cleaned out and solid waste is disposed of properly.

Panel’s comments: "Richard Sands was so proud of all the work that the company had carried out to ensure the treatment of stormwater from their complex site. They recognised the huge improvements that had been made. It was great to see the system in action and the commitment to even further improvements."

Superheroes proud to don their capes

All stormwater and wastewater at Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete is reused for truck washing and concrete making

All stormwater and wastewater at Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete is reused for truck washing and concrete making

Tunnel Wash director, Brian Court, is thrilled to be recognised as a Champion Stormwater Superhero.

"Our staff are very passionate about what we do – in particular, our recycling of all types of water. The use of biodegradable soaps and cleaning products is another aspect of our operation that we are very proud of. These actions help minimise the risk of contamination and pollution of waterways.

"We are delighted to accept our award, and hope that by doing so, we’ll help continue to raise awareness about stormwater health, and the part each and every one of us can play in improving the environment."

Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete manager, Richard Sands, is also extremely proud to have the company recognised as Stormwater Superhero.

"Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete continues to strive to achieve industry best practice for environmental management. The company and its staff are committed to building a cleaner and safer future for the people of Canterbury.

"We are happy that our solution is the best possible outcome for the environment, and it will also future-proof the sustainability of our site."

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.

"Simple actions can make a big difference. I encourage all business owners who’d like some advice in this space to reach out."

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.
  • Get busy with the broom: 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.