ODS chats to Jeremy Brown about Australia's stormwater management crisis and where we should be focusing to find solutions.
Co-founded by Jeremy Brown, Ocean Protect is an industry leader in the design, installation and maintenance of innovative and site-specific solutions for civil and commercial stormwater infrastructure. Jeremy has been working for over two decades on end-to-end solutions that cover every aspect of stormwater management — against a rising tide of environmental concerns.
Together with his business partner Michael Wicks, Jeremy has spent the past 10 years, spurred by his passion for the environment, developing Ocean Protect into a company with a beyond-profit purpose (protecting our oceans) that sits alongside his commercial endeavours in stormwater management.
Understanding the need to evolve the conversation about waterway health into one that focuses on how urban pollution reaches our creeks, rivers and oceans, Ocean Protect has worked tirelessly lobbying government for effective change, investing in education programmes in NSW schools, and partnering with environmental organisations to support efforts to clean up our waterways.
Outdoor Design Source had a quick chat with Jeremy about what he sees as the important issues facing our public waterways today.
Q. What is the most important fact you feel everyone should know about the state of stormwater management in Australia?
A. The vast majority of the urban catchment within Australia doesn’t have any form of stormwater treatment measures. Where they are installed, they are seldom maintained. Meaning when it rains, stormwater mobilises a huge amount of pollutants (plastic, sediments, heavy metals, nutrients etc) down our drains and out into our creeks, rivers and ultimately our oceans.
Q. What do you feel is the biggest impediment right now to improving urban infrastructure to protect our oceans?
A. The general public and government’s understanding of how plastic and other pollutants are reaching our rivers, creeks and oceans. Most people believe water goes down our stormwater drains and goes to some sort of treatment plant! NO! 1560kg of plastic enters our waterways here in Australia every hour. This is a local problem.
Q. What do you believe is the next step needed to improve our systems?
A. All forms of government need to work together. Local, State, and Federal need to work together to manage stormwater runoff appropriately to save our creeks, rivers, oceans, and ultimately US! If we kill our oceans, we kill ourselves!
Want to know more? In 2019 Jeremy launched a podcast series, co-hosted by environmental engineer Brad Dalrymple, which discusses key issues affecting the health of our waterways, as part of his ongoing mission to educate Australians on ocean protection. To listen, tune in via the Ocean Protect website, iTunes or Spotify.
Visit the Ocean Protect website for more information: oceanprotect.com.au