The NRM Mission...
To protect the quality of life and promote a sustainable future by managing and conserving the natural resources of Brevard County.
Natural Resources - Watershed Management Pollution Prevention
Pollution Issues in Brevard County:
Water quality of the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Johns River has declined due to excess nutrients, sediment and other pollutants carried by stormwater. Everyone can play a part in helping to protect the Indian River Lagoon by following these pollution prevention tips:
To prevent the contamination of waterways, avoid blowing lawn clippings into the street or dumping them down the storm drain. Once it rains, those leaves and grass clippings and yard waste are washed into the Indian River Lagoon. The nutrients contained in the waste cause algae blooms that decrease the amount of light and oxygen in the water and sometimes result in fish and sea grass kills.
To prevent yard clippings from entering storm drains do not pile yard waste and tree branches on storm drains. If possible, wait to put them out until the night before your yard trash pick up and make sure that they are placed on the grass, not the driveway or any other any impervious surfaces. If you use the plastic bins, avoid placing place them on or near storm drains because in a rainstorm, they can spill into the drain. It is recommended to leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing and reuse other yard waste as mulch by spreading them under bushes and flower gardens. The nutrients in yard waste make them the best and cheapest fertilizers your lawns and gardens can receive.
Composting is another way to reuse leaves, grass clippings and other small cuttings. By mixing these items with household wastes such as vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells and coffee grounds, you create a perfect medium for improving soil structure, promoting soil fertility and stimulating root development in plants.
For more information on composting, check out these links:
US Environmental Protection Agency - Composting USA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Composting Compost Info Guide - How to make better compost Use Florida Native Plants in Landscaping
Florida native plants are recommended for landscaping because these plants have adapted to Florida's soils, water and pests. They require less fertilizer than exotic plants. It is important to match the plant species to the conditions in your yards. To learn more about native plants and which ones will work best in your yard, visit the Native Plant Society's website at www.fnps.org
. There are two chapters in Brevard County.
In 2013, the Brevard County Commission and most city boards voted to adopt a summer fertilizer ban. The rainy season ban is in effect from June 1 to September 30.
For more information about your community fertilizer ordinance, see: http://brevard.ifas.ufl.edu/ordinances.shtml
Only “No Phosphate Fertilizer” as defined in Rule 5E-1.003(2) may be applied to turf or
landscape plants in the County without a soil or plant tissue deficiency as verified by a
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, approved testing
The nitrogen content of fertilizer applied to turf or landscape plants within the County
shall contain slow release, controlled release, timed release, slowly available, or water
insoluble nitrogen per guaranteed analysis label of not less than 50%. Caution shall be
used to prevent direct deposition of nutrients in the water.
The three numbers on the front of the bag should be selected for the type of plant you are fertilizing. The numbers represent the fertilizer's nitrogen (first number), phosphorus (second number) and potassium (third number) contents. High nitrogen fertilizers on a plant that does not need it is a waste of money and will eventually be washed into waterways by stormwater where it will fertilize algal blooms.
Use environmentally friendly alternatives to pesticides, including insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils which both can be made easily at your home. To make insecticidal soap, simply mix 2 tablespoons of liquid dish washing soap and a gallon of water. These soaps can be used to combat whiteflies, aphids and spidermites. Horticultural oils can be made by combining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons of liquid dish washing soap and a gallon of water. This alternative helps to eliminate problems with mealybugs and thrips.
For more information see, Earth Friendly fertilizers and soil care
Watering your lawn correctly can also help prevent insect infestation. When grass is over watered, it becomes a breeding ground for insects that like to feed on roots. To find out when to water your lawn in compliance with the irrigation rule, please visit the St. Johns River Water Management District at Water restrictions.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) promotes use of the least toxic method of controlling pests in the garden. IPM emphasizes the following:
- Tolerate some insect and leaf damage. This allows beneficial predatory insects and birds to locate and naturally solve a pest problem.
- Treat for specific pests, treat only in affected areas, and use the least toxic method of control. This will protect your community and allow beneficial birds and insects to restore and maintian the natural balance in your garden.
- To help prevent leaching and run-off of fertilizers, only use mixes that contain at least 50% slow release nitrogen.
- To maintain healthy grass free of diseases and pests, mow grass to a height of 3 inches in sun, or 4 inches in shade.
- More is NEVER better. ALWAYS read and follow label instructions. For more information, see Fertilizing for Healthy Plants and Clean Water.
Mulching is another method of reducing stormwater runoff in your yard. Because mulch is porous, it allows rainwater to seep into the ground but forms a firm ground cover that filters pollutants and holds soil in its place. You can get free mulch at the county landfills in Cocoa, Titusville and Melbourne. It is recommended that you call first to ensure availability.
(321) 264-5048 for Titusville
(321) 633-1888 for the Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa
(321) 255-4365 for the Sarno Road complex in Melbourne.
For more information, see Yard Waste & Mulching from Brevard County Solid Waste
Redirect rain gutter downspouts into landscaped areas instead of onto paved surfaces such as driveways. Rain and irrigation water that fall on paved areas wash pollutants into the storm drains. Make sure your sprinklers are watering grass and plants - not streets and driveways.
Remember to follow guidelines provided by the St. Johns River Water Management District website
. Rain Barrels
One of the best reasons to start collecting rainwater with a rain barrel is to encourage others to do the same, thereby spreading the culture of rainwater management that will improve the community and the environment.
Look outside your window the next time it rains. Imagine all the water that’s running down your driveway being put to beneficial use in your home and garden rather than washing pollutants into our bodies of water. Rainwater stored in a rain barrel has many uses, especially for providing water for landscapes and gardens. For more information regarding the collection of rain water, please visit, www.rainbarrelguide.com
Join fellow rain barrel owners and register your barrel!
Provide your name, address, phone number and t-shirt size so we can send you your FREE t-shirt. Don't forget to upload a picture of your installed rain barrel to complete the registration: Sign up for upcoming rain barrel workshops.
For more information on constructing your own rain barrel, click here
Swales are one of the most commonly used stormwater management practices. They slow down the rapid flow of stormwater runoff from highways and residential streets by ponding the water between two sloping sides.
By letting the ponded water soak into the ground, swales reduce the volume of pollutants thereby improving the quality of the stormwater that reaches the river or the lagoon. Swales have been created along roadsides throughout the County.
The following are ways to maintain swales to maximize their effectiveness:
Let water pond. Runoff should temporarily pond in the swale for 24 to 36 hours.
Mow the swale, but not too short.
Remove leaves and grass clippings from swales.
Minimize use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in swales and adjacent areas.
Do not pile garbage, trash, leaves, tree limbs or garden debris in swales as this adds pollutants that can wash into downstream waters.
Do not pave the swale as this will reduce the filtration and infiltration of runoff.
Do not park vehicles in the swale, as this compacts the soil, reducing infiltration and increasing runoff.
Did you know that cars can cause water pollution? As we drive, our automobiles leave bits of tires, brakes and rusty metal on the street. When we park, our automobiles leave particles of oil, grease and transmission fluid on driveways and parking lots. Less visible are the tiny exhaust particles that gradually settle out of the air onto the roadways.
What happens to all this "car dirt" when it rains? Rain washes auto pollutants off the pavement, down a gutter and into storm drains. The storm drains are connected to pipes that carry the polluted water to local water bodies.
You can help stop this kind of pollution! The following are guidelines for actions you can take:
- Recycle Oil. Old motor oil can be reprocessed and used again. Just put it in a container with a tight lid and take it to a designated drop off area.
- Wash your car on the grass or (preferably) use a commercial car wash. The dirty water from your car will settle into the grass or be recycled at the car wash. If you wash your car on a paved driveway or parking lot, the dirty water ends up in the gutter. When it rains the pollutants are washed into the storm drain and discharged into surface waters.
- Keep your car tuned up. Cars that run smoothly burn less fuel and cause less pollution. Regular tune-ups reduce hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide and other pollutants that come from your car's exhaust pipe.
- Repair leaks. Spots on your driveway mean your engine, transmission or radiator is leaking. Have the leak repaired right away. Clean up the leak by using cat litter or another absorbent material to soak it up. Sweep up the cat litter, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of in the trash. Never wash a spill with detergent. Remember all that dirty water ends up in the lagoon.
- Check the pressure in your tires. One of the simplest and cheapest ways to prevent pollution is to keep your tires properly inflated. Under inflated tires reduce gas mileage, and they wear out faster! By reducing the amount of gas your engine burns, properly inflated tires reduce the amount of polluted exhaust that your car makes.
- Drive less! Driving less is a great way to prevent pollution. Most polluted stormwater runoff comes from heavily traveled streets and highways.
Possible ways to reduce drive time are:
Plan all your errands for one trip. Walk, ride a bike, take the bus or join a carpool. Even once or twice a week can make a difference.
Dispose of household waste such as household cleaners, batteries and paints at designated collection centers. Avoid pouring these chemicals down the storm drains or into the streets. These materials are toxic and can kill both wildlife and plant life.
The Brevard County Solid Waste Department
can advise you as to proper disposal methods and the collection site closest to your home.
Solid Waste also offers a "Drop and Swap" program at the Central location in Cocoa for usable products brought in by residents. Residents are allowed to browse and pickup products including usable household chemicals, automotive fluids and paint products free of charge.
For more information on this program and others offered to Brevard County residents, please call them at 635-7954 or check out the Brevard County Solid Waste website
Taking responsibility for cleaning up after your pet can help to prevent pointless pollution of our watershed. Brevard County Ordnance 14-59 requires that "no animal shall be permitted to defecate or urinate on public property. It shall be the responsibility of the owner or person in control of the animal to dispose of or remove excretions caused by the animal."
Get The Scoop! - Pet Waste and Water Quality Brochure
One pound of dog waste contains over 1.1 billion fecal coliform bacteria! Pet wastes can be the source for up to 95% of fecal coliform bacteria in stormwater run-off.
Take along a plastic bag in which to put your dog's waste. Then you may choose to flush the waste down the toilet, throw it in a trash can or bury it.
Dispose of kitty waste and litter properly. Use a two-step process to clean out the cat box. First, scoop waste out of flushable litter and flush it down the toilet, taking care to minimize the amount of litter you flush. THEN, when litter is no longer usable, bag the litter and dispose of it in the trash. NEVER flush any kind of litter if you have a SEPTIC TANK.
Leaving pet waste in your yard to decay can become a problem. To make sure water is not polluted by the waste, clean up any waste from areas near storm drains, ditches, wells and waterways. Always keep areas where children play free of wastes.
If you don't want to pick up after your pet yourself, consider hiring a dog waste patrol service.
To report Illicit Discharge call (321) 633-2014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The presence of litter on Brevard County streets and right-of-ways detracts from the beauty of the County and encroaches upon the environment. Uncollected litter flows into stormwater drainage systems, creeks, and the Indian River Lagoon. Litter can become a breeding ground for disease-causing insects and rodents and it can trap, poison, and choke animals. Research also shows that uncollected litter attracts more litter.
Litter comes from non-point sources and can be attributed mainly to seven areas:
- Pedestrians or cyclists who do not use receptacles.
- Motorists who do not use car ashtrays or litter bags.
- Business dumpsters that are improperly covered.
- Loading docks and commercial or recreational marinas with inadequate waste receptacles.
- Construction and demolition sites without tarps and receptacles to contain debris and waste.
- Trucks with uncovered loads on local roads and highways.
- Household trash scattered before or during collection.
Illegal dumping is the disposal waste generated at one location and disposed of at another location without legal permission. Waster materials, consisting of trash, tires, yard waste, appliances, and other waste, are "dumped" on a property of without the permission of the property owner.
When rain soaks into the trash and debris, inks, dyes, and other pollutants can be leached out and can run-off to a storm drain or soak into the ground water.
To learn more about how you can prevent litter pollution visit, www.keepbrevardbeautiful.com
Did you know that stormwater runoff is the #1 carrier of pollution to the Indian River Lagoon? Every citizen can take action to reduce the polluted discharge and a representative from the Brevard County Watershed Management Program can tell you how!
"Healthy Habits For Clean Water" is a presentation available to be offered at your homeowners' association meeting or other civic club gatherings.
To schedule a presentation please call 321-633-2016.
The presentations share responsible practices to use at home to prevent pollution, such as:
Florida Friendly Landscaping
Yard Waste Tips
Fertilizer and Pesticide Tips
Sprinklers and Downspouts
Household Hazardous Waste
The intent of Florida-Friendly Landscaping is to use the Right Plant/Right Place approch to selecting plants and to adopt sustainable maintenance practices and materials to conserve water and reduce the impact of stormwater run-off on local water bodies.
Please consider the attached Florida Friendly Landscape Guides:
Stormwater pollution is one of the most serious challenges we face in protecting the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Pollutants that enter storm drains flow directly to the nearest creek or canal, and from there, into the lagoon.
We encourage businesses to help prevent stormwater pollution by monitoring loading docks, storage and work areas, parking lots, equipment, and general practices that could allow chemicals, solvents, eroded soils, and other materials to enter ditches or storm drains.
In today’s competitive market, it makes good sense to work as efficiently as possible. Energy conservation strategies for business present opportunities to improve your company’s bottom line while also helping to decrease the carbon footprint of your operation.
Businesses that implement water-efficiency measures can reduce water and sewer costs up to 30 percent. Significant savings in energy, chemical and maintenance expenses are also possible.
When your business conserves water, you save money on your utility bill simply from using less water and generating less wastewater. You'll also save on energy costs from pumping, heating, and treating less water. And, you should promote your conservation efforts to your customers and clients, there are added benefits in the positive publicity that stems from your environmental protection efforts.
Businesses and corporations are evaluated on many aspects of their performance, including their environmental stewardship. Implementing waster reduction and recycling efforts can reduce your business’ impact on the environment and demonstrates to customers that your business cares about the environment.
To comply with state permit requirements, every construction activity that disturbs one or more acres of land is required to to have erosion and sediment control. All construction requires a stormwater permit. Please download the Contractor's guide for acquiring a permit here:
The Department of Environmental Protection has a new Urban Best Management Practices (BMP) Performance Tool
. This Urban Stormwater BMP Performance Tool has been developed to provide stormwater professionals with easy access to approximately 220 studies assessing the performance of over 275 BMP.
Stormwater Rule Updates
The Brevard County Natural Resources Management Office's Watershed Management Program seeks to revise and update the Stormwater Management Criteria to be consistent with current State standards and policies. Workshops will be held in the near future to gather comments and alternatives to these proposed regulation updates. All consultants, developers and other interested parties are encouraged to participate in these discussions.
If you wish to be put on a mailing list for these workshops contact the Natural Resources Management Office, Robbyn Spratt, P.E. by email
Free Florida Stormwater Erosion and Sedimentation Courses
Stormwater runoff is the #1 source of pollution to the Indian River Lagoon and sediment from erosion of construction sites is a major contributor to the problem.
The Watershed Management Program offers a free Florida Stormwater Erosion and Sedimentation Course for all contractors and builders.
The goal of the program is to increase the proper design, construction, and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls during construction and to assure the proper long-term operation and maintenance of stormwater systems after construction is completed. The primary program objective is to provide training to private and public employees in various construction related fields.
The program curriculum was developed to educate the inspector on proper installation, inspection and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for use during and after construction to minimize erosion and sedimentation and to properly manage runoff for both stormwater quantity and quality. Florida’s stormwater program is technology based, using performance standards and BMP design criteria. The use of innovative techniques and specifically designed erosion control systems is encouraged in order to prevent erosion and sedimentation during construction.
For more information, contact Kaylene Wheeler, NPDES Coordinator, City of Palm Bay Public Works Department
Stormwater Program, at email@example.com
Download the Florida Stormwater Erosion and Sedimentation Control course manual. Green Industries BMP Certification Classes
Green Industry professionals should adopt Best Managment Practices (BMPs) to reduce amount of fertilizers, pesticides, and yard waste that pollute our precious water resources. Green Industries BMP certification classes are available at 3695 Lake Dr., Cocoa. $30 fee includes lunch and program materials. Online class pre-registration is required
Download the Green Industry BMP manual.