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STORM WATER PROGRAMS
The impact of runoff on our waterways...
What is storm water, exactly?
We’ll get into that, but first, let’s talk WATER!
H2O makes up two-thirds of the Earth’s surface, working to regulate our global climate. Water is what we drink, how we cook, where we play—it’s how we survive!
We all know Earth’s H2O falls down from the clouds in liquid form as rain, but what you may not know is that it eventually drains into our larger bodies of water!
Storm water is rainwater that does not soak into the ground, but instead runs over hard surfaces (roofs, lawns, driveways, sidewalks, and streets) while picking up pollutants along the way. Eventually, those pollutants, driven by rainwater—whether trash, chemicals, fertilizer or pesticides, pet waste, automotive fluids, or sediments—dump into our waterways.
Storm water empties into waterways by two means:
1. Flowing over land directly into lakes, ponds, or rivers, and eventually into our Tampa Bay estuary (see image "A" at right)
2. Flowing down streets and into the storm drains, which connect to outfall pipes in many locations along our shorelines! (see images "B" and "C" at right)!
Storm water is different than the water that we flush or wash down the sink; that water is transported to waste water treatment facilities. Storm water flowing into Tampa Bay is untreated and potentially contaminated, sadly causing issues for wildlife and human health.
Issues of heavy rainfall and increased storm water:
- increased nutrients resulting in algal blooms
- beach closures due to poor water quality
- increased pollution in the water
- increased shoreline erosion
- increased wildlife entanglement and trash ingestion
- increased infiltration into sewer system
Water is not an unlimited resource.
We all have a responsibility to protect and clean our waterways.
How YOU can help:
- Maintain your yard responsibly (keep rainwater clean, slow it down, and soak it up with native plants)
- Do not litter; always try to prevent debris from entering storm drains
- Clean up after your pets
- Help educate others!
- Volunteer at Tampa Bay Watch
1. Storm drain markings
2. Watergoat trash removal
For more tips, information, and videos, check out the City of St. Petersburg’s stormwater web page.
Storm Drain Markings
Marking curbside storm drains with placards that read “DUMP NO WASTE, DRAINS TO BAY” is just one of the ways we can help educate about the importance of clean water. The goal is to remind us that our personal actions, whether inland or along a coastline, do impact our larger waterways. We hope when people read the placard, they stop to think about the potential impact of their everyday waste management choices
Involve Your Group
Help us install storm drain placards in your neighborhood! These service projects are driven by local citizens like yourself. Let us know if you have recommended sites or target neighborhoods that could use a large scale marking event! We will take the necessary action and obtain neighborhood association approvals, as well as provide placards and related supplies to mark the storm drains.
Watergoats (the threaded, floating buoy structure as shown in these pictures) surround discharge storm water outfalls or stream mouths before opening into the bay.
This boom barrier helps to capture litter before it’s carried by the tides further into our waterways. The netting is safe for wildlife and does not stop water flow.
These debris-collecting watergoats are installed in many locations throughout the Tampa Bay region and maintained/cleaned out by various entities.
The trapped debris is scooped up by staff and volunteers, to be properly disposed of, while collecting valuable marine debris data.
Volunteers are needed, especially after heavy rainfalls, to help remove the debris from the watergoat!
For more information on Watergoats, please visit BigwaterRescue.org.
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