Stormwater Management Program
St. Johns County has been one of the fastest growing areas in the country. With that growth an added burden has been placed on our water supply and recreational waterways. St. Johns County residents must do their part to ensure that our area’s growth does not result in pollution of the local waterways.
Stormwater’s Role in Adversely Affecting Our Waterways
A major contributor to contamination of our waterways is polluted stormwater. Stormwater is the flow of water that results from precipitation occurring immediately after a rainstorm. Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation flows over impervious services (i.e. driveways, sidewalks, roads) and picks up any oil, grease or other pollutant on the surface. Stormwater is carried away through a system of pipes and ditches is also known as the County’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The stormwater flows directly from streets and gutters into our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Straight from your street to waterways inhabited by fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals and plants.
When polluted stormwater reaches our waterways, it has many long-lasting negative effects on aquatic plant and animal life. This pollution also impacts other species that use water, including humans.
Some potential effects:
- Sediment and other debris clog fish gills, damage fish habitat and block light needed for aquatic plants to survive. Disrupting natural drainage patterns increases flooding chances.
- Debris such as plastic bags, bottles and cigarette butts can harm marine life.
- Bacteria and other pathogens wash into swimming areas and create health hazards.
- Excess nutrients such as those found in fertilizer can cause an over-abundance of aquatic vegetation which depletes oxygen in the waterbody.
Far-Reaching Results of Stormwater Contamination
If stormwater pollution continues, one of our most valuable resources – our recreational waterways – will be lost forever. Please remember ditches and storm drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer system. They discharge directly into streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, bays, and oceans. This means that stormwater is not treated or decontaminated before it flows into our waterways. Whatever you put in ditches, street drains, and even your lawn, goes directly into our recreational waters whenever there is a significant rain. We must all take responsibility for keeping pollutants out of St. Johns County’s waters.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Program
Program measures are education based:
- Educating Residents about how they can help prevent Stormwater pollution
- Instructing Builders and businesses about ways they can prevent pollution
- Fostering pollution prevention with County Staff
- The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program
Other measures involve specific actions on the part of the County, such as:
- Storm sewer system operation and maintenance
- Recycling, construction and illicit discharge inspections
- Storm drain inlet marking program
- Mapping the County’s Stormwater outfalls
- Application of BMPs at County facilities.
- Littering and improperly disposing of trash and recyclables.
- Improperly disposing of pet waste.
- Incorrectly applying lawn chemicals.
- Washing cars.
- Motor repair.
- Incorrectly disposing of household hazardous wastes.
This pollution ends up discharging into local waterways as sediment, sludge and solids. These can sometimes be removed by stormwater BMP’s such as pollution traps and ponds. The most cost-effective way to reduce this problem is to prevent pollution from entering the stormwater system in the first place.
How You Can Help
By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of Stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember to share the healthy household habits with your neighbors!
NPDES Program Staff
Staff assists the public with information regarding County reviewed projects, as well as ensuring compliance with mitigation and monitoring requirements. Staff also coordinates with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and other regulatory agencies.
Community Outreach and Education
St. Johns County Public Works provides stormwater pollution education and information opportunities for schools, homeowner associations, other groups, organizations and events through the interactive Watershed Pollution EnviroScape model. Our representatives will visit your school, meeting or event and demonstrate the local impacts of stormwater pollution on our County's water resources. Contact Jason D. Sparks, P.E. at (904) 209-0120 or visit Pride, for additional information and scheduling.