Stormwater Bylaw Review

🗳️ Submissions closed on 7 March 2022

Following the Public Hearings on 5 April 2022 and Deliberations 3 May 2022 Council adopted the Stormwater Bylaw at the full Council meeting on 25 May 2022. The bylaw will come in to effect on 1 July 2022. The following text highlights the main points of Council’s approach to implementation, after the effective date.

There will need to be a significant amount of education and awareness undertaken to let the residents of Invercargill know that a Stormwater Bylaw does exist and how it will affect them. Council’s implementation approach is to complete onsite inspections and discussions with HAIL sites and educational initiatives as follows:


  1. Inspect higher risk Hail sites and work through any remediation and compliance requirements.
  2. Informative pamphlets sent out with rating letters to all residents.
  3. Direct communication with all HAIL / industrial sites as required.
  4. Educational material advertised via different media platforms such as social media and print media.


  1. Inspect next band of HAIL sites and work through any remediation and compliance requirements.
  2. Educational material as required, depending on awareness and compliance with the bylaw.


  1. Inspect remaining HAIL sites and work through any remediation and compliance requirements.
  2. Educational material as required, depending on awareness and compliance with the bylaw.


Council is consulting on whether it should introduce a Stormwater Bylaw for the Invercargill District

Why is the Invercargill City Council proposing to introduce a Stormwater Bylaw?

To improve the quality of our stormwater, that subsequently flows in to our waterways. The Invercargill City Council is required to meet some regulatory requirements surrounding water quality and the bylaw will support Council in achieving meeting these. There is also a community focus on improving all of New Zealand’s water quality.


Documents and Links

Hard copies of the consultation document and submission boxes can be found at the Civic Administration Building Help Desk, the Bluff Service Centre or the Invercargill Public Library. Alternatively contact us on or by phone 03 211 1777.


Consultation Events

Council wants to hear your views on the proposed Stormwater Bylaw. Council will be hosting two engagement events as follows:

  • A Business Webinar for the professional sector on 24 Feb 2022 from 11am to 12pm
  • A Facebook Live for the wider public on 1 March 2022 from 7pm to 7.30pm

Please register you interest for either of these events to



📅 Submissions closed on 7 March 2022 at 5pm


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between stormwater and wastewater?

Stormwater is defined as the result of precipitation (rain/snow/sleet) once it has reached the earth’s surface, whether that be rooftops, land in public or private properties, or roadways. Stormwater drains from our roads, roofs and properties into a network of pipes, ditches and ponds all of which discharge, untreated into our rivers, streams and estuary.

Wastewater, also known as sewage, effluent or greywater is the result of human or animal activity. Wastewater is what gets washed down the pipes from our toilets, showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers. Wastewater flows through a series of separate underground pipe to a wastewater treatment plant, where the wastewater is treated before being discharged to the environment.


Why do we need a bylaw?

The Invercargill City Council needs a bylaw to create a stronger framework to help prevent and mitigate businesses and residents from putting contaminants down the drain that could adversely affect the environment.


How will the bylaw affect me?

For the large majority of the residence within the Invercargill City boundary the bylaw will have little to no impact. Residents will be reminded of the new rules, such as not to wash their cars in a way that the detergents flow in to the stormwater system.

The bylaw aims to capture activities from mainly the industrial and commercial sectors that are known to discharge contaminants to the stormwater network and prevent them from doing so. Businesses should identify where there are risks to the stormwater. The guidance on how to do this is included in the bylaw. We undertake regular inspections with businesses – during these inspections we will discuss any mitigations required with you.  Businesses will be required to submit their site management plans to Council. Most sites are not anticipated to require significant work, although for a small number of sites more significant remediation will be required.


Will the bylaw cost me more money as a ratepayer?

As the bylaw covers the entire city and all its ratepayers, the cost of implementing and running the bylaw will be absorbed into the stormwater rating units. If Invercargill City Council staff are required to attend contamination events or are needed to return to sites of concern to inspect works being undertaken, the cost of that officer’s time and other resources will be recovered as a cost neutral exercise.


Can I wash my car on the side of the road or in my driveway?

You will not be able to undertake an activity where it would allow contaminants to make their way to our receiving waters. You may wash your car on the grass or any permeable surface such as gravel where the soapy water and sediments drain into the ground rather than directly into the stormwater network. Alternatively you could take your vehicle to a commercial carwash where all the drains are connected to treatment devices before being discharged to the foulsewer network.


As a business in the industrial and commercial area, will I need to apply for a special stormwater consent?

Not for stormwater purposes, though all sites of concern in designated industrial and commercial areas will need to provide a site management plan to the Invercargill City Council and they may be required to treat the water onsite, before it is discharged into the stormwater network. If it found that there is an activity being undertaken on the site where the discharge cannot be discharged to stormwater an needs to go to the ICC foulsewer network, the site may need to apply for a trade-waste consent.


Who do I contact if I see any type of contamination going into drains around the city?

If you happen to see any type of contamination in any of the rivers or streams itself, call the Environment Southland Pollution Hotline on 0800 76 88 45. If you happen to see anything unusual in the city, such as water coming up through a manhole, oil or paints going into drains or large amounts of mud and sediments on the road please call the Invercargill City Council front desk 24/7 on 03 211 1777 and explain to the operator to the best of your ability what you have found and the location of the event.


How will the Invercargill City Council approach compliance and enforcement of the bylaw, if it is adopted?

If the Stormwater Bylaw is adopted, the Invercargill City Council plans to take a measured approach for implementation. Council wants to take an educational stance and help commercial sites and private residences understand what they can do to contribute to better water quality in Invercargill.  The bylaw makes provision to grant the Invercargill City Council regulatory powers for offences and breaches. However, it is not anticipated they will need to be used often.


Will this apply retroactively or only to new businesses?

Yes this will apply to all locations within the city.


Why are we doing this when Three Waters will take over the stormwater management in the near future?

Council acknowledges the intent for Three Waters to take over the management of these assets going forward. Council is focused on being good stewards of the stormwater assets and they are in a good state when the management of network is handed over to the Three Waters entity.


When will the bylaw come into force?

Following consultation, Council will consider any changes recommended and intends to have the Bylaw operational by 1 July 2022.


What happens to sites that already have their own discharge consents with Environment Southland, are they required to meet the conditions of the bylaw?

The purpose of this bylaw is so that the ICC can control what is being put into our stormwater network prior to discharge to the cities receiving waters. If your site already has a discharge consent with Environment Southland or your site does not directly discharge to the ICC’s stormwater network, then this bylaw does not currently effect you. However when your current consent expires with Environment Southland and you are within the Invercargill city boundaries, you may be required to meet selected conditions of the bylaw prior to gaining an additional discharge consent.


Can I talk to the Mayor and Councillors about this proposal?

Hearings are currently set down for 22 March 2022. While the opportunity to speak to your submission as part of this process is not legally required, Councillors are interested in hearing from you if you would like to share your views orally. Please understand though that our ability to facilitate this may depend upon circumstances.


📅 Submissions closed on 7 March 2022 at 5pm