Community Stormwater Control
Stormwater can affect our community and environment. As a community, we should take extra precautions to make sure we keep everyone and our bodies of water safe.
What Is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is generated from rain events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. Runoff will flow into swales, pipes, and culverts which will direct the water into streams, lakes, wetlands, and the Intracoastal. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams and lakes. To protect these resources we use stormwater controls, known as Best Management Practices (BMPs), to manage the runoff. The implementation of these practices, which include BMP design, performance and adaptive management requirements, prevent pollution by controlling it at its source.
Effects of Stormwater
Since stormwater is transported into natural bodies of water with our convergence systems, various pollutants can draw unwanted effects to the environment. These pollutants consist of pesticides, sediment, oil, litter, trash, yard waste, and pet waste. The effects of these pollutants can act as a food source for unwanted aquatic plants like hydrilla and algae. These unwanted plants dissolve oxygen available in the water for the aquatic creatures to survive. Dirty stormwater can also be a hazard concern to humans.
What Can We Do To Help?
Pet waste contains large amounts of bacteria and diseases which could make local waterways unsafe for contact when it gets washed away in stormwater. You can prevent the accumulation of pet waste in local waters by picking up after your pet and challenging your neighbors to do the same.
Trash and Litter
Trash that is discharged from stormwater systems can trap and poison animals in aquatic habitats. Even small items like cigarette butts and filters are threats to wildlife as they are often mistaken for food. Trash has been found in the stomachs of our aquatic friends for years. They can also get caught in trash and in turn, this will lead to discomfort or their untimely death. The city encourages participation in ocean cleanup efforts. Be mindful of your impact on the earth by disposing trash properly, even if it isn’t your own. Let’s keep Palm Coast beautiful.
A single quart of oil is capable of contaminating one million gallons of clean water and can cause severe environmental, economic, and social turmoil. There are simple precautionary measures that you can take to help reduce oil and auto fluid pollution.
- Check for oil leaks on a regular basis and fix any you may discover.
- Take old motor oil and other car fluids to auto supply stores to have them disposed of and recycled properly.
- Take them to the Flagler County Hazardous Waste Disposal Center located at 1700 S. Old Kings Road.
Large piles of yard debris can clog storm drains and impact the oxygen levels in waterways like rivers and lakes as it decomposes. Try refraining from blowing leaves or grass clippings onto the street by using a mulching mower.
Water that comes from washing your car may contain a variety of pollutants including oil, grease, soap, and other chemicals. There are several ways to reduce pollution from car washing activities.
- Use commercial car washes.
- Wash your vehicle in areas that can absorb water, such as your lawn.
- Use biodegradable, phosphate free water-based cleaners.
- Empty your wash bucket in your lawn, or down a sink, drain, or toilet.
Please do not dump anything down storm drains. If you see anything that should not be entering the stormwater system please report it immediately.
Reducing Stormwater Generated From Your Home
There are many ways you can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff generated from your property. You can use rain barrels or cisterns, minimize the number of impervious surfaces on your property, incorporate native plants into your landscape, or direct the rainwater runoff to the appropriate locations by use of small rock-filled trenches. For ideas, check out this website.
Rain barrels are a great way to reduce the amount of rainwater runoff generated from your home. In Florida, we encourage it. A rain barrel captures water runoff from the downspouts of your roof and saves it for later use such as on lawns, gardens, indoor plants, and washing your car. By collecting rainwater, you can reduce your water bill.
Using plants that are native or adapted to Florida is one of the best things you can do when creating a landscape in your yard. Native and adapted plant species:
- Require significantly less water than non-native, non-adapted plant species.
- Tolerant to rain cycles and times of drought.
- Reduces the needs for fertilizers, pesticides.
- Less susceptible to pests and diseases.
- Support local wildlife.
Avoid planting invasive plants because they can harm the surrounding native plants and can be unmanageable. Use of heavy herbicides to kill invasive plants can be harmful on the environment. UF IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping Program
Rain gardens or bio-retention areas are native perennial, shrub, and flower gardens planted in small depressions. Rain gardens manage runoff by collecting rainwater from rooftops, driveways, patios, and other impervious surfaces to temporarily hold until it can infiltrate back into the ground. Rain gardens are designed to hold water for only a few hours after a storm and are a great way to treat polluted rainwater.
Smart Water Practices
Proper watering techniques can conserve water, reduce runoff, produce/maintain healthy root systems, and train your lawn to be more drought tolerant. Watering too frequently will waste water and fertilizers. As well as cause disease and weed problems. A great way to conserve water is to incorporate native and drought tolerant plants in your yard or use gardening techniques that conserve water such as xeriscaping.Design Ideas
Xeriscaping is a garden or landscape that is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. These types of landscapes need little or no water beyond what the natural climate can provide. Xeriscaping is most popular in dry climates but is a great alternative to traditional gardening in any climate. If you are interested in learning more about xeriscaping, check out the website below.Xeriscaping
Fertilizers and Pesticides
A lot of effort goes into maintaining a lawn to keep it green and attractive which oftentimes includes the application of fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals, if not used appropriately and moderately, can get swept up by stormwater as well as harm the condition of your lawn. It is best to avoid using fertilizers and pesticides before or when it rains because it will be unable to soak in if it washes away.
When applying chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides it is best to maintain a 10-foot buffer area around all water bodies including the swales in your front yard to secure it in place. Please see the resources below for more information on how to appropriately fertilize your lawn: