The following was prepared by The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Storm Water / Non-point Source Management Section
Wherever you live, your daily activities could end up polluting Florida’s water
Pollutants from our homes, businesses and farms are major contributors to the pollution of Florida’s surface and ground waters. This pollution is washed into the state’s waters by rain or irrigation water and is known as POINTLESS PERSONAL POLLUTION. Unlike many other types of pollution, WE cause this pollution and WE can stop it!
What is Pointless Personal Pollution?
The blame for water pollution often is aimed at “point sources,” such as industrial or sewage treatment facilities. Discharges from these sources flow through pipes and can be readily identified and treated. But Pointless Personal Pollution is difficult to identify and treat. This is because many of our daily activities can cause this pollution and it can travel by many different routes into the ground and surface waters. Take a look around your home and property. You can find many sources of Pointless Personal Pollution that could end up in the state’s waters.
Some examples of these pollutants are:
- Sediments from soil erosion caused by un-vegetated soils and by uncontrolled construction activities.
- Automotive and lawn equipment oil and grease leaking on paved areas or improper disposal of used oil and other products into storm drains.
- Runoff of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers from lawns, gardens, farms and golf courses.
- Organic contaminants from litter, yard trash, sludge, garbage from dumpster’s and garbage cans and pet and livestock wastes.
- Pathogens and excessive nutrients from sewer leaks and septic tanks overflowing or located in areas with high water tables.
How Does Pointless Personal Pollution Impact Our Waters?
Pointless Personal Pollution contains many kinds of pollutants which contaminate our waters in many ways, such as:
- Nutrients from fertilizers, septic tanks and animal wastes enter our waters causing excessive growth of algae and aquatic weeds.
- Heavy metals and pesticides that can kill aquatic organisms and contaminate sediments.
- Sediments from soil erosion clog fish gills and shellfish filter systems cutting off their oxygen supply.
- Pathogens from septic tanks and animal wastes contaminate shellfish and lead to the closing of swimming areas.
What you can Do To reduce Pointless Personal Pollution
HOME & HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE SHOP WISELY. Buy products labeled biodegradable, non-toxic, non-phosphorus, or water-soluble. WHY…they readily decompose and will not pollute surface or ground water. STORE PRODUCTS SAFELY. Keep toxic products in original containers, closed and clearly marked in safe storage places. WHY…to prevent spillage or accidents to children or pets.
PROPERLY MAINTAIN SEPTIC SYSTEM.
Inspect systems annually and pump out as needed. Avoid caustic cleaners, chemicals or solvents. WHY…they might destroy waste reducing bacteria or clog absorption fields, which could cause runoff of inadequately, treated wastes during rainstorms.
What About Lawn Care?
USE GARDEN AND LAWN CHEMICALS WISELY. Follow package directions carefully and only use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers when other methods fail. Do not apply if rain is in the forecast. WHY…excessive fertilizers and chemicals wash off the property and into surface and ground waters.
KEEP IRRIGATION WATER ON THE LAWN AND GARDEN (NOT ON PAVED SURFACES).
Divert rainspouts onto unpaved areas or swales and wash vehicles on vegetated areas. WHY…this allows runoff to soak into the soil and not wash over paved surfaces into nearby waterbodies. COMPOST LEAVES, GRASS AND SCRUB CLIPPINGS. Use as mulch for fertilizer and do not rake into roadways. WHY…these materials will decompose and return nutrients to the soil and avoid the necessity of applying fertilizers.
What About Your Car?
DON’T DRAIN USED MOTOR OIL INTO STORM DRAINS.
Take used motor oil and antifreeze to service stations to recycle them. WHY…these products are toxic and add pollutants to surface waters if placed or washed into storm drains.
SERVICE YOUR CAR REGULARLY.
Have your car inspected and maintained regularly. WHY…to prevent leakage of motor oil, antifreeze and other fluids, which can end up in the nearest water body. Well-maintained vehicles reduce air emissions that can contaminate surface waters.
If You Want to Be a Part of the Solution, and Would Like More Information, Please Contact the Following:
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Storm water / Nonpoint Source Management Section
2600 Blairstone Road, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Phone: (850) 921-9472
ST JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
The Town was required by Federal law to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. In 1972, the Clean Water Act provided for the regulation of point discharges of water, such as discharges from wastewater treatment plants. Subsequent amendments in 1987 added some non-point sources to those discharges regulated. These non-point sources include storm water runo ff from urban areas. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is responsible for carrying out the provisions of the Clean Water Act. The USEPA accomplishes the regulation of point and non-point discharges through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program. Phase 1 of the NPDES Storm Water Program requires that all cities with a population of 100,000 or more apply for and obtain a permit to operate their municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). In Florida, the USEPA authorizes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue NPDES permits
Who is affected by the NPDES Permit?
The permit affects everyone who owns property, lives, or works in the Town of Orange Park or who visits the Town. Storm water runoff comes primarily from hard surface areas such as buildings, parking lots and roads, but can also come from construction sites and undeveloped areas. The Town’s Public Works Department is administering the permit to ensure compliance, although there is no specific funding source for permit compliance at this time.
What are the consequences if the Town does not comply?
Failure to comply by the Town carries penalties including financial penalties of up to $25,000 per day.
What is the Town doing in response to the NPDES Permit?
The Town of Orange Park is developing and implementing a comprehensive Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). The goal of this program is to reduce the discharges of non-storm water into the storm sewer system and to reduce the discharges of pollutants from the storm sewer system into area waterways. The NPDES Permit requires that the Town’s SWMP includes measures to address the impacts of the following elements on storm water quality:
- Operation and maintenance of storm water structural controls
- Discharge from areas of new development and significant redevelopment roadways
- Flood control projects
- Runoff from landfills and municipal waste sites
- Use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
- Illicit discharges and improper disposal
- Runoff from industrial and high risk sources
- Construction site runoff
How does the NPDES Permit affect you?
Every citizen and visitor of Orange Park has the opportunity to contribute to the success of the Town’s Storm Water Management Program through responsible practices such as proper disposal of household chemicals, reporting illegal dumping, and careful lawn management.
Does this mean I can’t wash my car anymore?
Runoff from individual residential car washing and non-commercial car washing events is permitted; however, this activity should be limited to grass areas if possible.
Does this prevent me from watering my yard or garden?
Runoff from landscapes, gardens, lawns, and agricultural irrigation is permitted; however, proper watering techniques and usage are encouraged.
Can I continue to use a sump pump to keep my crawl space and basement dry?
Clean water from crawl spaces, basement sump pumps, and footing drains can be pumped out onto your yard.
Where is the correct place to drain the water from my swimming pool?
You can still clean and drain swimming pools onto your yard as long as the water is de-chlorinated.