What is NPDES?

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) – Clean Water Act Section 402

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a federal program that regulates stormwater discharges to the receiving waters of the United States.  This program is mandated in the federal Clean Water Act and is delegated to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and local governments (Counties & Cities). An NPDES permit may also include discharge limits based on federal or state water quality standards that were designed to protect designated uses of surface waters, such as supporting aquatic life or recreation. Water quality criteria and standards vary from state to state and site to site, depending on the use classification of the receiving body of water. Most states follow EPA guidelines that propose aquatic life and human health criteria for many of the priority pollutants. The goal is to prevent STORMWATER POLLUTION.


Stormwater pollution is urban runoff water that has picked up pollutants as it flows through the storm drain system- a network of channels, gutters and pipes that collect runoff from city streets, neighborhoods, farms, construction sites and parking lots-and empties directly into local waterways. Unlike sewage, which goes to treatment plants, urban runoff flows untreated through the storm drain system. Anything thrown, swept or poured into the street, gutter or a catch basin (the curbside openings that lead into the storm drain system) can flow directly into our channels, creeks, bays and ocean. This includes pollutants like trash, pet waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, anti-freeze, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, construction debris, paint from brushes and containers rinsed in the gutter and toxic household chemicals.



Contaminated urban runoff is a source of pollution into local waters, and may contribute to beach closures. Litter, leaves and other debris clog catch basins, which cause flooding when it rains. Flooding can damage property (cars, buildings and equipment), create health hazards (fleas, mosquitoes and bacteria) and hurt the City’s image as a desirable place to live and work. It is illegal for businesses without a permit to discharge wastewater or other materials into the storm drain system.

You can report illegal storm drain discharge by calling 954-519-1499. 

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