What is stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater Runoff is rainfall that does not seep into the ground but runs off over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings. The stormwater runoff then enters our storm sewer system which flows directly into creeks, lakes, Tampa Bay, or the Gulf of Mexico.

How does stormwater get polluted?

As stormwater flows over our lawns, driveways and parking lots, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm sewer system then transports these pollutants to local lakes and streams, and eventually Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico.

Are the storm sewers the same as sanitary sewers?

Stormdrains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and transport it through the storm sewer system to nearby waterways. Water and other debris that enter stormdrains do not go to a treatment facility. In contrast, the sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the water is treated and can be reused for reclaimed water.


Homeowners can make a big difference in our local stormwater runoff by minimizing fertilizer and pesticide use, picking up after their pets, and washing their cars at a car wash facility. Other helpful measures include not draining your pool into the storm sewer, recycling hazardous household waste and landscaping using Florida Friendly Practices.