National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Boca residents and business owners may have noticed a new “fish” around the storm sewer inlets in their neighborhoods. The City’s Municipal Services Department has been busy making sure that we all are aware of the storm drains, and how they are directly connected to the quality of water in canals and the ocean that affects the beauty of our City and the quality of life that we enjoy. The City is using a blue and green stencil of a fish that reads, “No Dumping! Drains to Waterway”. The stencils, manufactured by Flint Trading Company in North Carolina, have been placed at 117 inlets that are part of Boca’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).
Why should people be concerned about what enters a storm drain? Because anything that is flushed down a storm drain is not “treated” before it reaches a stream, canal, river or the ocean. This means that oil, antifreeze, paint, grass clippings, household waste, pet wastes, or any other waste on the streets and sidewalks, and driveways goes directly into these bodies of water.
The next time you wash your car on your driveway, consider where all that soapy water goes. The dirty water runs down the street into the storm sewer. This sewer carries the wash water to a natural body of water, such as a canal. Where, the soap acts like a fertilizer for aquatic plants and causes too much plant growth, which creates problems for the fish.
You can help increase awareness of the storm drain connection by pointing out these new stencils to your family, friends, and neighbors. And remember these simple things you can do to prevent runoff pollution of our waters.
- Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks, and roads.
- Never dump anything down the storm drains.
- Vegetate bare spots in your yard.
- Compost your yard waste.
- Avoid pesticides, if possible.
- Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces.
- Take your car to the car wash instead of washing your car in your driveway.
- Check your car for leaks, and recycle motor oil.
- Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
- And, for gosh sakes, pick up after your pet!
For more information, check out Palm Beach County's NPDES System.