Initial Results – Let’s Strain The Drains, Warrnambool

We are pleased to report that the first audit of Let’s Strain The Drains – Warrnambool took place in Archie Graham Community Centre on Saturday 15th May 2021. The audit, coordinated by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, had a great turnout with 23 enthusiastic volunteers, many of whom were members of Geocaching Victoria.

All 10 stormwater litter traps (Drain Buddies) were emptied by Cleanwater Group prior to the audit and they captured a total of 50.9 KG of litter (including organics). A total of 819 items of litter were found from the traps and the TOP 10 items were;

  1. Polystyrene balls (155)
  2. Cigarette butts (108)
  3. Broken hard plastic (94)
  4. Broken glass (81)
  5. Plastic film remnants (80)
  6. Broken polystyrene (65)
  7. Paper remnants (63)
  8. Pieces of foil (42)
  9. Plastic food packaging (23)
  10. Bricks / cement (19)

The full data from the audit was submitted into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database, coordinated by Tangaroa Blue Foundation. AMDI Database is the most comprehensive collection of marine debris data in the country, containing over 18 million items. More than 140 categories give an exact image of what types of rubbish are being captured by the traps and how the quantity and quality of litter changes throughout the project. With this understanding in mind, it is then possible to create source reduction plans that are tailored to certain issue items in the area.

Next audit will take place in Archie Graham Community Centre (Warrnambool VIC) on Saturday 10th July 2021.

Link to the Facebook event is here

To register for the event, please email


About the project:

The 12 month project, Let’s Stain The Drains – Warrnambool, is the second monitoring project of stormwater drain related marine debris in Victoria, following the framework of the first project in Port Phillip Bay. Being a significant transport pathway for pollutants, stormwater is a key piece of the marine debris puzzle as it acts as an outflow point for litter in urban runoff.

To address the increasing amount of litter washing up on Warrnambool beaches, 10 stormwater drain traps (Drain Buddies) were installed by the Cleanwater Group in consultation with the Warrnambool City Council. In order to obtain land-use relevant data, five traps were placed in two different land-use type areas; Central Business District (CBD) & Industrial Precinct.

The traps will be emptied every 8 weeks (total of 6 audits) and the contents of the traps are then sorted and counted together with a coordinator from Tangaroa Blue Foundation & local community volunteers in open audit events. The data from all the audits is submitted to the AMDI Database, which is used to identify specific information on the sources and distribution of litter originating from both urban areas that would normally flow through the stormwater system into the ocean.

The data collected from the audits along with an analysis report will be presented by Tangaroa Blue Foundation at an open community forum at the end of the project to assist in the development of local source reduction plans that aim to mitigate the types of litter documented. The data collected will also provide valuable insights that can be used at both local and state government levels to inform strategic plans to tackle litter at the source, so it does not end up on beaches and waterways around Warrnambool and Victoria.

Photo credit, Colleen Hughson.

This project is supported by the Victorian State Government through the Coastcare Victoria Community Grant

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