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Only rain should go down outdoor drains please

Chris Satori

LOVEmyBEACH, the campaign for cleaner beaches and seas in North West England, is calling for residents in the region to support the #RainDownTheDrain promotion this month.

It is a common misconception that liquids, such as paints or detergents, can be safely poured down outdoor drains. Most offenders are unaware that this has a negative affect on both the cleanliness of our waterways and the survival of domestic wildlife.

It is important to understand that outdoor drains operate very differently from those connected to people’s homes, with outdoor drains usually running directly to the nearest river or stream.

The drains which are connected within the home carry dirty waste water, typically to the waste water treatment works, where intelligent processes are applied until the water is clean again and can be safely released into the natural environment.

In contrast, outdoor drains are designed to carry rainwater ONLY. As the water is 100% natural rainwater there is no requirement to send it for processing with the dirty water that comes from our homes instead it travels directly into our rivers and seas. If pollutants such as engine oil, cooking oil, paints, chemical wastes, and detergents are poured down outdoor drains these too will travel directly into our rivers, streams and eventually our seas without processing.

LOVEmyBEACH is asking residents from across the North West to take unwanted pollutant liquids to the nearest household recycling centre to be disposed of safely and to remember that street drains are designed for #RainDownTheDrain only.

LOVEmyBEACH is the campaign working across the community to influence and encourage small changes. It supports and runs volunteer beach cleans regularly and provides information and resources for improving bathing water quality for a range of groups in the community including; schools, farmers, dog walkers and local businesses.

More information can be found at

Key messages include:

  1. THINK BEFORE YOU FLUSH - Put disposable products such as wet wipes and sanitary items in the bin and not down the toilet, even if it says ‘flushable’ on the packet.
  2. CHECK YOUR SEWERAGE CONNECTIONS - If your property’s connected to a septic tank, cesspit or package sewage treatment plant, make sure that it’s working correctly and keep it maintained. Faulty or poorly maintained systems can cause serious pollution problems.
  3. CATCH YOUR RAINWATER - Use a water butt to collect rainwater for your garden and help reduce the amount of water running into surface water or drains.
  4. DROPS IN THE OCEAN - Wild birds such as seagulls and pigeons can badly affect water quality, so please do not feed these birds at bathing waters. Dog owners should act responsibly and ensure that they abide by dog controls and clean up after their pets.