In Leon County, water quality issues are associated with nonpoint source pollution and changes in our watersheds. Water quality issues caused by nonpoint source pollution include excess nutrients, sediment, trash and bacteria.
Nonpoint source pollution happens as a result of rainfall moving over and through the ground. In turn, the rainwater picks up and carries away natural and human made pollutants which ultimately end up in lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.
Nonpoint source pollution can include:
- Excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas;
- Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production;
- Trash from tobacco products or food waste that does not make it into a designated trash receptacle;
- Yard debris from home or commercial lawn care activities;
- Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks;
- Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty septic systems; and
- Atmospheric deposition and hydro-modification.
Although the effects of nonpoint source pollutants on specific waters vary and may not always be fully assessed, ultimately we know that these pollutants have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.
How Leon County Works to Prevent Nonpoint Source Pollution
The City and County have received separate National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) municipal stormwater permits. Part of the NPDES Permit requires a Stormwater Management Program which prohibits harmful pollutants from entering our stormwater systems, reducing the amount of pollutants entering our local surface water resources. A critical component of the Stormwater Management Program is the requirement that new developments provide treatment and reduction of stormwater runoff plans. For example, treatment facilities are required to be constructed and regularly maintained in accordance with the design and associated development permit. Some other components of the NPDES Permit include monitoring for illicit discharges to our stormwater system; inspection and maintenance of County stormwater facilities; proper use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on County property; and ensuring construction sites are inspected for sedimentation and erosion control measures.
Clean Water Campaign
The County has instituted a Clean Water campaign to educate residents and business owners about the impacts of their daily activities on our surface and ground water. A Water School is held each October providing an opportunity to visit stormwater treatment facilities and hear from local experts about the other ways to reduce pollution entering our waters. To participate in Water School programming, contact Mary Beth Litrico, Water Resource Specialist, at (850) 606-1500 or at LitricoM@LeonCountyFL.gov.
While Leon County has an active Capital Improvement Program for stormwater treatment retrofit to reduce pollutants entering our stormwater systems, we recognize that trash and debris still makes its way into some of our surface waters. Where feasible to install and provide regular maintenance, we have installed 'trash traps' which are designed to float in water to capture litter and unwanted debris before flowing farther downstream. This type of floatable technology is non-invasive and effectively functions with little intervention once it is installed. County staff periodically cleans the trash traps throughout the year.
What You Can Do to Prevent Runoff Pollution
Learn more about what you can do to prevent runoff pollution on the Personal Pollution page.