With summer projects well under way, homeowners doing a spot of "do it yourself" can avoid causing an environmental disaster by not pouring paint or other solvents down stormwater drains.

Hawke's Bay Regional along with Napier City and Hastings District councils have some great tips for ensuring DIY is kind to the environment.

"Only rain should go down a stormwater drain," says Wayne Wright, HBRC's pollution manager.

People who see paint or any other chemicals in a gutter or stormwater drain anywhere in Hawke's Bay should contact HBRC's Pollution Hotline at any time on 0800 108 838.

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"Stormwater drains are designed to take water from roofs, driveways and roads and funnel it out using streams and rivers to the sea, but these 'drains' get no filtering or treatment, so what goes through a drain could end up where someone swims," adds Mr Wright.

Stormwater drains are easy to recognise. They run below the steel grates at the side of the road, carrying rainwater from roofs, paths and roads, compared to the fully enclosed sewage pipes which take contaminated water from home, business and industry kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

When paint and other chemicals get into streams, fish, eels and other stream life are often killed and waterways may not recover for long periods. Pollutants can also affect beaches where people swim and can result in skin rashes and other health issues.