A paint-like substance was seen flowing into a stormwater drain on Tuesday. PHOTO/SOUMYA BHAMIDIPATI

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

A white, paint-like substance was seen flowing from a pipe on Chapel St and into a drain on Perry St on Tuesday.

The outlet pipe, outside the old Public Trust Office building, appeared to have been stuffed with something in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the flow.

Passersby looked on with concern as the substance lined the gutter for about 30 metres, flowing around the corner and into the nearest drain on Perry St.

Towards the drain, what appeared to be draught-stoppers had been placed in the gutter in a further attempt to stem the flow.

Two walkers reported the incident in person to Masterton District Council.

They told the Times-Age they had been advised the council was aware of the substance and had referred the matter to Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“It’s us ratepayers who will have to pay for the clean-up,” one of the walkers said.

“Meantime, it’s all going down the drain.

“I thought it was a milk bottle at first that had spilt, but then I thought, ‘that’s a whole lot of milk’.”

A council spokesperson confirmed the regional council was responding to the incident and was working with contractor CityCare.

“We have been advised that this was the result of painting carried out on the roof of a building being affected by frost and not drying. Subsequent rain washed the paint down the downpipe, into the gutter, and into the stormwater system,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the regional council said its environmental protection team was notified on Tuesday of roofing product entering a stormwater drain.

”At this stage, the roofing product is no longer running off the identified roof as rainfall has stopped,” they said.

“This matter is currently under investigation by Greater Wellington, which includes identifying who is responsible, what the product is, and what the effect on the environment may be.”

The regional council sought to prevent paint and other harmful toxins from entering stormwater systems. It relied on the community to report pollution in waterways, the spokesperson said.

”Greater Wellington works with the community to educate them on the right way to dispose of paint, products and harmful toxins to prevent pollution.

“If you see pollution in your local stream, river or pond you can contact the Environment Hotline on 0800 496 734.”



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