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National Pollution Discharge Elimination System
In the City of Clearwater and Pinellas County, our major problem is not so much growth, but redevelopment. And, with redevelopment, comes the added burden to our water supply and recreational waterways. The citizens of the City of Clearwater and Pinellas County must do their part to ensure that our area's of redevelopment doesn't spell doom for our precious, yet fragile environment.
A major contributor to contamination of our waterways is polluted stormwater. Stormwater is rain that has fallen and then flows across the ground and pavement. This stormwater flows into ditches and storm sewers. This water then flows directly into streams, rivers, bays, and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. As the stormwater flows across pavement, lawns, and parking lots it picks up pollution (fertilizers, solvents, pesticides, auto fluids) and carries it directly into our waterways. Once there, it can have devastating effects
When polluted stormwater reaches our waterways, it has many long-lasting, negative effects on aquatic plants and animal life. This pollution also impacts other wildlife that uses the water or eats the contaminated seafood. This includes HUMANS!
Some of the potential effects are: Shellfish and aquatic animals become contaminated and inedible. Stormwater run-off picks up debris off roadways and excess fertilizers, pesticides off yards and ends up in the bay, which can be harmful to marine life.
Sediment and other debris that damage fish habitat, block light needed for aquatic plants survival, and clog the gills on fish.
If we don't stop the pollution, our most valuable resources "Our Beautiful Beaches and Recreational Waterways" will be lost forever. Please REMEMBER, ditches, ponds, lakes, storm drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer system, they flow directly to Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. This means that stormwater run-off flows directly to ponds, streams, lakes, and ditches without the benefit of being decontaminated or cleaned. What ever you put on your lawn or in the storm drain goes immediately into Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. We must all take responsibility for keeping the pollutants out of waterways and keep Clearwater Sparkling.
Be The Solution ...
There are many seemingly harmless activities that are done in and around households that are very detrimental to our water system. Everyone can help by learning and practicing "Best Management Practices" around your household. BMP's are simple techniques that when put into place and practiced can significantly reduce or eliminate the pollution that enters our storm water system.
Some of the most noticeable practices that cause problems to our ponds, lakes, streams, ditches, and even the bays include, but are not limited to:
- Overuse of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers is a major cause of stormwater pollution. Remember what you put on your lawn will eventually end up in our streams, lakes, bays, and beaches.
- Dumping of grass clippings, leaves, and other lawn debris into storm drains, ditches, and canals. This is not just a matter of pollution but could cause a blockage and may even cause flooding. The City of Clearwater Solid Waste Division will collect yard waste for proper disposal on your collection day.
- The draining of swimming pools, washing machines, and water softeners directly to ditches, streets, and even your lawn.
The City of Clearwater would like to encourage everyone to be involved in the elimination of pollutants to our waterways by recycling, reducing, and reusing materials. If the average household generates 30 pounds of recyclable material every month and you multiply that by the households in Clearwater, it's easy to see how quickly the savings would accumulate and the landfill decrease.
Programs for recycling, reducing, and reusing are available from the City of Clearwater, Pinellas County, and most municipalities throughout the United States.