Award-winning Auckland company Stormwater 360 is taking its expertise to Canada to help clean up some of the world’s most famous lakes.

Stormwater 360, established in 1996 and based at Rosedale, is a world leader for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. 

Its founders Mike Hannah and Greg Yeoman have moved to Toronto and are applying their new technology to eliminate plastic and other waste going into the Great Lakes – the biggest area of freshwater lakes in the world.

As much as 10 million kilograms of plastic enter the lakes from both the United States and Canada yearly. It’s estimated that each year eight million metric tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans and this amount if expected to double by 2025 – or the equivalent of 10 grocery plastic bags per foot of the world’s coastline.

Of their move to Canada, Hannah says: “For us to realise our dream and help put an end to this (pollution) problem, we need to put what we do in front of as many people as possible.”

The New Zealand operations will continue while the founders are away. Stormwater 360 invents and applies products which stops plastic and other waste from discharging into the waterways by catching the pollutants at the drain level.

It first developed the Enviropod, a metal filtration device that is inserted in a catchpit of the stormwater system. The Enviropod has been superceded by the lighter and more flexible `basket in the drain’, the LittaTrap. 

Mike Hannah Stormwater360
Mike Hannah empties the litter captured in the LittaTrap™ inserted in a catchpit

Stormwater 360’s latest technology earned them the inaugural innovation award from the Water New Zealand Stormwater Group. The company also won the Innovation in Sustainability and CleanTech category at the 2016 New Zealand Innovation awards. 

Stormwater 360 will be installing the LittaTraps in the drainage systems that eventually lead to the Great Lakes. The company has more than 5000 litter-catching devices throughout Auckland, including LittaTraps at Wynyard Quarters. 

It has worked with many businesses to reduce waste including Sanford (owner of the Auckland Fish Market), Fonterra, Auckland Transport and retail chain Farro Fresh.

Stormwater360 has been manufacturing its products under licence in Australia and in New Zealand it operates through resellers Hynds Pipe Systems and Humes Pipeline Systems.

Stormwater360 success stories

Strong portfolio of products

Over the years Stormwater360 has invested heavily in research and development – with the support of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Callaghan Innovation – and has now created a portfolio of 15 products from storm filters to green roofs. Between 2013 and 2016 Stormwater360’s turnover doubled and staff numbers increased from nine to 15.

Among its exciting products are the LittaTrap™, a variation to the Enviropod®, and Filterra bioretention system with its specially designed filter media mixture. The engineered Filterra device works as efficiently as a raingarden but takes up less space and is installed in urban landscaped areas such as streets, parking lots and motorways.

ATEED supported us by organising funding and expertise so we could implement our business plan.”

Mike Hannah Co-owner of Stormwater360

Hannah says five to 10 per cent of the turnover has gone into research and development each year and “now we have to convert the new technology, such as LittaTrap™ and Filterra, into growing our exports globally.”

Filterra system Stormwater
The Filterra System has a kerb opening and specially-designed filter media mixture

How ATEED helped

ATEED worked closely with Stormwater360 from 2011 and helped the company increase its research and development, establish a strong business plan, and create exports and growth. ATEED facilitated NZTE vouchers to fund business coaches who worked with Stormwater360 on strategic planning, export market entry and expansion, and governance and finance issues.  

“Running a business requires different skills and the mentors played a critical role in hoping us to grow,” says Hannah.   

ATEED also facilitated Callaghan Innovation R&D funding, which included Stormwater360 hiring a PhD student to complete research into the commercialisation of Engineered Bioretention Media. The research was invaluable and the graduate is now working full-time at Stormwater360.  

“ATEED supported us by organising funding and expertise so we could implement our business plan,” says Hannah. "In 2011 we drew up a five-year plan and at the end of it we had gone a long way there with new products and partnerships. We have acted on every opportunity we identified.’’  

ATEED chief executive Nick Hill says companies like Stormwater 360 play an important role in the Auckland region’s transformation – particularly relevant with their anti-pollution products helping to prepare Auckland’s waterfront for the 2021 America’s Cup.  

“We are passionate about making people more environmentally aware and keeping the water clean,” says Hannah.

At a glance

Stormwater360’s business: Develops and delivers efficient and innovative solutions to manage stormwater runoff (waste) and reduce its impact on our environment.

Location: Headquartered in Rosedale, Auckland.

Export markets: Australia, Canada.

ATEED assisted by: Facilitating NZTE and Callaghan Innovation grants; helping Stormwater360 create a plan for exporting and growth.