Stormwater pollution is a serious issue. It can affect the quality of drinking water as well as recreational surface waters. The Federal Government recognized this concern and established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, a federally-mandated Clean Water Act program administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that works at educating people, businesses and creating compliance. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, counties and municipalities are required to perform certain activities to reduce the amount of stormwater pollution entering our waters. Each government agency is issued a stormwater permit, also known as a NPDES permit.
Altamonte Springs, along with Seminole County and surrounding municipalities, was issued their first NPDES permit in 1997 and has been operating under permit requirements ever since. These requirements include:
- Identify major outfalls and pollutant loadings (mapping for source tracking);
- Detect and eliminate non-stormwater discharges to the system (enforcement);
- Reduce pollutants in runoff from industrial, commercial, and residential areas (enforcement and drainage system maintenance and cleanup);
- Control stormwater discharges from new development and redevelopment areas (inspections and site plan process);
- Implement a monitoring program (monitor water quality);
- Perform routine maintenance of the City’s stormwater system.
- Provide public outreach to educate the public on identifying and reducing Pointless Personal Pollution;
- Evaluate and implement restoration plans on waterbodies with adopted Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL).
What Is TMDL?
As part of the evolving NPDES permit requirements, Altamonte Springs’ waters are subject to a state and federal process known as the Total Maximum Daily Loads Program. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, surface waters of the United States must be evaluated to ensure they’re in good health. Any water body that is deemed impaired (or unhealthy) based on specific criteria must be improved, using a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) issued by the state or federal government.
A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet State Water Quality Standards to remain healthy. The FDEP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use TMDLs as regulatory tools to ensure waters are returned to a healthy state. Local governments must then implement projects, through a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) or as required by their NPDES permit to reduce pollutants and restore the health of the waters based on the TMDL.
The following waterbodies located in the city have been listed as impaired for either nutrients, dissolved oxygen or bacteria (fecal coliform); Lake Adelaide, Lake Florida, Lake Harriet, Little Wekiva Canal, Little Wekiva River, Lake Orienta, Pearl Lake and Spring Lake.
What Is BMAP?
A Basin Management Action Plan or BMAP is a blueprint for restoring impaired waters by reducing pollutant loadings to meet the allowable loadings established in a TMDL. It represents a comprehensive set of strategies including permit limits on wastewater facilities, urban best management practices, conservation programs, public outreach, and infrastructure retrofits designed to implement the pollutant reductions established by the TMDL within a watershed. These broad-based plans are developed over several years with local stakeholders and rely heavily on local input and commitment. BMAPs are adopted by Secretarial Order to be enforceable.
The city is an active stakeholder in the Lake Jesup BMAP, adopted in 2010 and Wekiva BMAP, currently in draft form. More information on the BMAP process and copies of the plans themselves can be found at the FDEP website.