Surface Water Management in Pinellas County...
The Surface Water Assessment is a user fee for stormwater services in unincorporated Pinellas County, which addresses flooding, water quality and the operation of county-owned stormwater systems. More information.
Pinellas County Code states that no pollutants can be allowed to enter the surface waters, the drainage system, or even be disposed of in the roads also lead to storm drains. Additionally, no illicit connection can be made to the storm sewer system to drain pools, plumbing, septic tanks, washing machines, etc.
If you think you might have witnessed a potential illicit discharge or know of an illicit connection on or near your property, please contact the Watershed Management at 727-464-4425. We will investigate the matter. Any illicit discharge or connection is punishable by fines of up to $10,000 per day if not proactively reported.
Examples of pollutants are yard debris, oil or other automotive fluids, sediment, gravel or masonry materials from construction sites, paint or any other chemical. Basically, if isn't clean water, it shouldn’t be disposed of into the storm drain, street, or into any water body. Exceptions to the rule are discharges from potable water sources, firefighting waters, non-chlorinated pool discharges (though we recommend using the water to water your lawn; it saves money and water).
What is stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater Runoff is rainfall that does not seep into the ground but runs off over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings. The stormwater runoff then enters our storm sewer system which flows directly into creeks, lakes, Tampa Bay, or the Gulf of Mexico.
How does stormwater get polluted?
As stormwater flows over our lawns, driveways and parking lots, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm sewer system then transports these pollutants to local lakes and streams, and eventually Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico.
Are the storm sewers the same as sanitary sewers?
Stormdrains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and transport it through the storm sewer system to nearby waterways. Water and other debris that enter stormdrains do not go to a treatment facility. In contrast, the sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the water is treated and can be reused for reclaimed water. You can contact us to obtain materials including storm drain markers that state “only rain down the drain” and door hangers like this one to distribute throughout your community.
Homeowners can make a big difference in our local stormwater runoff by minimizing fertilizer and pesticide use, picking up after
their pets, and washing their cars at a car wash facility. Other helpful measures include not draining your pool into the storm sewer, recycling hazardous household waste and landscaping using Florida Friendly Practices.
How can I help?
All businesses should be mindful of their activities which could cause stormwater pollution. Use appropriate sinks or drains to dispose of mop waters, etc. Chemicals should be stored indoors or under an overhang to be protected from rain waters.
How does this affect my business?
Certain categories of businesses are required to apply for a stormwater permit with the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
All construction sites must be properly contained to avoid runoff.
This means that appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) should be used to protect the perimeter of the site, and any drainage or water body that could potentially be impacted. Here are some examples:
- Silt fencing (reinforced with chicken wire if needed), floating turbidity barriers
- Rock bags, filter fabric, filter socks for drains and inlets
- Hydroseed, sod to stabilize exposed areas
- Dewatering bags, flocking materials
- Gravel entrances to keep from tracking dirt out onto the roads
Other Useful Information:
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