Napier City Council has adopted a new stormwater bylaw it hopes will go a long way towards getting rid of the pollution that has dogged crown-jewel recreation and conservation area the Ahuriri Estuary and Pandora Pond.
The bylaw, which struck a bit of a speed-bump with conditions which effectively outlaw a Kiwi tradition of driveway-runoff car washes, was adopted at Thursday's council meeting and will take effect on February 1.
But the council won't be in any hurry to take the stick to those who haven't got things in order on time, planning an educational approach first, setting target-focused environment management plans with industry and taking action against the non-compliant only when it becomes clear there's no other option.
Officers told councillors that a "lead-in" time for "highly-affected" industries highlighted in submissions heard by the council last month would occur "as a matter of course through the operational response of the Environmental Solutions team."
It includes a risk-assessment of sites and time to reach the "best practicable option."
In relation to the car-washing bugbear, manager environmental solutions Cameron Burton told councillors everyone needs to make "behavioural shifts" but where there was "recidivism" and the council was still getting multiple complaints it would ultimately have to step-up action.
History allowed the practices to develop around New Zealand, he said, and people and businesses would need to consider how they could change.
Discharges through the stormwater system became a bugbear among a range of water issues for the council in the last term, and the bylaw aims to attack pollution issues at source. It was highlighted by contamination of Pandora Pond, with the council now working to restore the waterway to an always-safe environment.
The bylaw regulates discharges into the stormwater system and controls on anything that may stop the stormwater system functioning at its full purpose.
Action can be taken against anyone who causes any damage to the public stormwater network, or allows any material, chemical (including chlorine and detergents), rubbish, litter, or other substance that causes or is likely to cause a nuisance, directly into the public stormwater network;
It includes such chemicals as may be in the runoff from the washing of cars, which the council recommends be done on surfaces where the stormwater system will not be compromised.