Stormwater pollution

Effects on plants and animals


Stormwater pollution can kill plants and animals that live in the water. For example:

  • Sediment in the water reduces light penetration and affects photosynthesis, the process that allows plants to use light as their source of energy.
  • When green waste decays in water it uses up oxygen, taking vital oxygen away from plants, fish and other aquatic animals.
  • Soil makes waterways cloudy and can suffocate fish by clogging their gills.
  • Litter clogs waterways and causes toxicity as it breaks down. It affects the health of birds, fish and other animals and plants that live in the waterways.

Effects on humans

Stormwater eventually feeds into our waterways. Healthy waterways mean a healthy future for the environment and the economy - and for us. For example:

  • bacteria pose a health risk to humans. It can be dangerous to swim immediately after rain.
  • ugly pollution destroys the visual amenity of our waterways.

People do care about water pollution

Belmore River

Water pollution is the single most important environmental issue in NSW, according to the Department of Environment and Climate and Change's (DECC) 1997 benchmark survey 'Who Cares About the Environment?'.

There is enormous consumer awareness of this issue and people are prepared to change their behaviour from say, washing their car in the street, to washing it on the lawn. They understand their polluting behaviour is having a direct and harmful effect on our waterways.

According to a DECC survey, 85% of people in NSW hold 'a great deal of concern' or a 'fair amount' of concern about the environment. People ranked the environment as the second most important issue for government action over the next decade. They identified water pollution as the single most important environmental issue in NSW.

Further information

For further information please click on the Department of Environment and Climate Change site regarding Stormwater 

Leaflets and posters describing how we can preserve our environment are also available on the DECC's site.

Leaflets can be found at 

Posters can be viewed and downloaded at 

Every time it rains … you could be swimming in it

water pollution pic

Dogs make wonderful pets, and over half of all Australians own a pet. However, most people are not aware that every time it rains, everything (including dog droppings) on roads, footpaths and parks washes down stormwater drains straight to your local creek and beach.

This is a serious problem as dog droppings contaminate waterways with bacteria and nutrients which threaten human health, contribute to toxic algal blooms and suffocate marine life.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, people can be fined $220 on the spot for failure to remove dog faeces.

By collecting your dog's droppings and disposing of it responsibly, you can help look after our environment and ensure it stays clean and safe for us all to enjoy.

What can you do?

Take a plastic or biodegradable bag with you when walking the dog

Train your dog to go in your garden and dispose of droppings responsibly.
Remember to take a plastic or biodegradable bag with you when you are out with your dog.

Use the bag to collect your dog's droppings

Dispose of it responsibly - you can bury it in your garden, flush it or put it in the bin.

Help us keep Kempsey Shire's water clean!

Everyone lives, works and plays in a catchment and we are all responsible for caring for our environment. Clean waterways and beaches are important for a lively environment, economy and community.