* DEP Home * About DEP * Programs * Contact * Site Map * Search *
Corner of tabNonpoint Source Management

Urban  Stormwater Program (Continued)


Stormwater Incentive/Technical Assistance Activities

Effectively reducing stormwater pollution from urban land uses requires much more than a stormwater treatment rule and the use of structural BMPs. This section of the chapter will briefly discuss some of the public education, technical assistance, and other nonstructural approaches that are being used in Florida to minimize urban stormwater pollution.

Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA)

The state’s land planning agency, the DCA, is responsible for administering the implementation of the state’s growth management program. The three main components of this effort include:

  • Chapter 186, F.S., the State and Regional Planning Act, requires the development of a State Comprehensive Plan and the preparation of regional plans by the state's eleven Regional Planning Councils.
  • Chapter 187, F.S., the State Comprehensive Plan, originally was envisioned as the foundation of the entire planning process -- with strong, measurable, and strategic goals that were to set the course for Florida's growth. The plan contains important goals and policies in 25 different elements, including water resources, coastal and marine resources, natural systems and recreation, air quality, waste management, land use, mining, agriculture, public facilities, and transportation. Many of these goals and policies are related to improved stormwater management.
  • Chapter 163, F.S., includes the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act of 1985, which requires all local governments to prepare local comprehensive plans and implement land development regulations. These must be consistent with the goals and policies of the state and regional plans. Local governments face state sanctions that could result in the loss of state funding if adopted local plans are not consistent with the state and regional plans. The local government plans and land development regulations strongly promote low impact development or conservation design that minimizes the potential generation of NPS pollution and the protection of natural controls such as vegetative buffers, riparian zones, etc.

Florida's revised growth management system is based upon three key requirements: consistency, concurrency and compactness. The consistency requirement establishes the "integrated policy framework," whereby the goals and policies of the State Plan frame a system of vertical consistency. State agency functional plans and regional planning council regional plans must be consistent with the goals and policies of the state plan while local plans are required to be consistent with the goals and policies of the state and appropriate regional plan. Local land development regulations (LDRs) must also be consistent with the local plans, goals and policies. Horizontal consistency at the local level is required to assure that the plans of neighboring local governments are compatible. Consistency is the strong cord that ties the growth management system together.

Concurrency is the most powerful policy requirement built into the growth management system. It requires state and local governments to abandon their long-standing policy of deficit financing growth by implementing a "pay as you grow system." Once local plans and LDRs are adopted, a local government may approve a development only if the public facilities and services (infrastructure) needed to accommodate the proposed development will be in place concurrently with the development. Public facilities and services that are subject to the concurrency requirements are roads, stormwater management, solid waste, potable water, wastewater, parks and recreation and, if applicable, mass transit. Level of service standards acceptable to the community must be established for each of the types of public facilities.

Compact urban development goals and policies are built into the State Comprehensive Plan and into regional plans. Policies, such as the separation of rural and urban land uses, the discouragement of urban sprawl, the promotion of urban infill development, and the support of maximum use of existing infrastructure by encouraging compact urban development, form the basis for this requirement.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

As part of the implementation of the state’s NPS management program, DEP staff are actively involved in general public education programs on stormwater management, educational workshops for design professionals, and providing technical assistance to local governments and the private sector. Additionally, financial incentives are provided through the EPA Section 319 NPS Implementation Grant program that DEP administers and, most recently, through the State Revolving Loan Fund.

Public Education - The Stormwater/NPS Management Section staff give numerous slide presentations each year on the impacts of stormwater and the proper management of stormwater. These presentations are given to local elected officials, the general public, and civic groups. Staff also participate in several workshops each year on the design of effective stormwater treatment systems that are held by professional organizations, such as the Florida Chamber or the Florida Engineering Society. Staff also use the Enviroscape watershed landscape to give presentations to school children, helping them to learn some of the basic concepts of watershed management and how they can help to reduce pointless personal pollution in their communities.

In addition to presentations, staff develop and distribute a wide range of public education materials. A listing of the available publications, including those that are available for downloading is found under Publications and Reports.

Florida Erosion, Sediment, and Stormwater Control Inspector Training Program

Using Section 319 grant funds, the Stormwater/NPS Management Section has developed and implemented a training program for public and private sector staff involved in the inspection of erosion, sediment, and stormwater controls. This program is designed to improve the construction and maintenance of BMPs during and after construction. It was developed to address the state stormwater program’s biggest deficiency – inspections to assure proper long term operation and maintenance of BMPs. The course materials consist of a curriculum notebook, 12 hours of instructional presentations on video tape, a half day review class, and an instructor manual. The program is implemented cooperatively by DEP and local governments providing for statewide implementation of the program with delivery at the local level.

Section 319 NPS Management Implementation Grant Program - DEP receives about $4 million per year in Section 319 grant funds from EPA. These funds are used to implement stormwater retrofitting demonstration projects, to evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater BMPs, and to implement public education programs in the state’s NPS priority watersheds. These include SWIM waters, National Estuary Program (NEP) waters, ground waters, and TMDL listed water bodies. Project proposals are due each July and must include at least a 40% non-federal match.

Stormwater Revolving Fund - The 1997 Florida legislature amended Chapter 403, F.S., to allow up to ten percent of the available loan funds to be used for stormwater projects. The Bureau of Wastewater Financial Assistance has developed rules to implement this statute and has initiated the process to fund projects.

Suwannee River Water Management District

The SRWMD provides technical and financial assistance through several programs including the Quality Communities Program. The Quality Communities Program assists communities identify and solve their stormwater drainage, wastewater and potable water needs. Included in these efforts are many NPS minimization techniques.

In July 1998, the District completed a community needs report. The report identified needs, prioritized the needs, and estimated the costs of implementing and maintaining these improvements. It also will help municipalities identify possible sources of funding and assistance and will aid local, regional and state planners in their budget and planning processes.

South Florida Water Management District

The SFWMD has traditionally supported local government, stormwater improvement projects and is considering a number of projects for inclusion in the upcoming budget. A combination of matching funds, grants, and technical assistance have been used to facilitate projects such as stormwater retrofits, master plan development, water quality monitoring, and hydrologic assessments. Objectives, such as expected water quality benefits, local government financial participation, project feasibility, are considered in assessing potential projects. The SFWMD also has implemented "Know the Flow," a seminar series for homeowner/property owner associations to learn what they can do to minimize stormwater problems. This four-hour seminar is held periodically in different parts of the SFWMD. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has approved the course for 4 hours of continuing education credits.

Local Governments

Since they are responsible for making land use decisions and for providing the infrastructure to serve these land uses, local governments are one of the most important partners in addressing urban stormwater pollution. As part of their growth management responsibilities, local governments are developing and implementing stormwater master plans that address existing infrastructure deficiencies and infrastructure needs for new developments. Since 1986, when Section 403.0891, F.S., was created authorizing local governments to establish stormwater utility fees, over 95 cities and counties have implemented a stormwater utility to provide a dedicated source of revenue for their stormwater programs. Nearly all of these local governments also are implementing stormwater education programs to inform their residents of how their everyday actions affect stormwater quality and quantity, of their responsibilities for maintaining stormwater systems, and to gain the support of their residents for the local stormwater program.

Urban Stormwater Regulatory Programs

Florida was the first state in the country to implement statewide regulations requiring new development and redevelopment to treat stormwater before it is discharged. Since its adoption in 1982, the Stormwater Rule has been revised several times to assure that the BMP design criteria are achieving the required level of stormwater treatment and that they are consistent with the latest studies on BMP design and effectiveness. Another important element of Florida’s stormwater management program is the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, which was revised in 1984. The act expands the authority of DEP to protect wetlands and requires the WMDs to protect isolated wetlands and consider the requirements for fish and wildlife habitat needs in the permitting process.

As mentioned previously, the DEP and the WMDs amended their stormwater rules in 1995 to combine wetland resource permitting, stormwater quality permitting, and stormwater quantity permitting into a single permit known as the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP). Implementation is shared by the DEP and the WMDs, depending upon the type of activity that is being permitted. More information is available from the Bureau’s web site or from the WMDs. Table 1 summarizes the applicable stormwater treatment rules that are administered by DEP and the WMDs.

Table 1. Summary of Florida Stormwater Regulations

Agency Rule Comments
DEP 62-25, F.A.C. Only applies in NW Florida
NWFWMD   Does not implement stormwater program
SRWMD 40B-4, F.A.C. Includes general & individual permits, ERP
SJRWMD 40C-4, 40, 42, F.A.C. Includes general & individual permits, ERP
SWFWMD 40D-4, 40E-40 F.A.C. Includes general & individual permits, ERP
SFWMD 40E-4, 40E-40 F.A.C. Includes general & individual permits, ERP

BMPs for Urban Development

Florida’s growth management and urban stormwater management programs rely on both nonstructural and structural BMPs for controlling nonpoint source pollution and protecting designated uses of water bodies from Florida’s rapid urbanization. Nonstructural BMPs are those that can be used to prevent the generation of NPS pollutants or to limit their transport off-site. They also are called "source controls". Florida’s growth management program requires the use of nonstructural BMPs such as land use management, preservation of wetlands and floodplains, minimizing impervious surfaces. In general, these BMPs help to promote "low impact development" or "conservation design". Other nonstructural BMPs that are widely used throughout Florida include street sweeping, proper use and disposal of fertilizers and pesticides, and public education programs. The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program is an excellent example of a nonstructural program that is helping to minimize the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation water by educating citizens and builders about the use of native plants.

Technology-based structural BMPs also are required on all new developments and redevelopments to help mitigate the increased stormwater peak discharge rate, volume, and pollutant loading that accompany urbanization. The most widely structural BMPs used in developing areas include retention or infiltration areas, wet detention ponds, constructed wetlands, sand filters, bioretention areas, vegetated buffer strips along streams, and swales. Florida’s urban and construction BMPs, both nonstructural and structural, are described in detail in the Florida Development Manual: A Guide to Sound Land and Water Management.

Nonpoint Source Management Program
Division of Water Restoration Assistance
3900 Commonwealth Blvd MS 3570
Douglas Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000


Last updated: August 06, 2015

  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
DEP Home | About DEP  | Contact Us | Search |  Site Map