Stormwater runoff is the water that flows off of roofs, parking lots, driveways, and other hard surfaces during rainstorms. Runoff can pick up pollutants, such as:
- Pet waste
- Grass clippings and leaves
- Motor oil
Stormwater flows through stormdrains into underground pipes that transport the water and pollution into creeks, lakes, wetlands, or retention/detention basins. Learn how you can protect our water by preventing stormwater pollution.
In order to improve stormwater management in unincorporated Alachua County, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a stormwater assessment; this is a user fee for stormwater services.
While some stormwater is absorbed into the ground, during heavy rains runoff flows into low areas, ditches, drainage pipes, culverts, sinkholes, and into creeks, lakes, wetlands, and our drinking water aquifer. Stormwater runoff is not treated; it picks up pollutants and causes contamination, erosion, and flooding.
The stormwater assessment provides a dedicated funding source to allow the County to better measure and manage the County’s stormwater system, improve the condition of stormwater infrastructure, provide pollution prevention education, monitor water quality, eliminate illegal connections and discharges, and enforce stormwater codes more proactively. The assessment rate currently is $40 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU).
Low Impact Development (LID)
Low Impact Development is an approach to land development that uses land planning, design, and construction techniques to preserve and protect water quality and habitat. By using the landscape and natural hydrologic functioning to guide development to mimic natural processes, LID helps to manage stormwater closer to its source. This approach helps to minimize run off and allow more filtration, water storage, infiltration, and evapotranspiration on site. LID practices help to maintain or restore the hydrological and ecological function of the associated watershed.
Examples of LID practices include, but are not limited to:
- Vegetated swales, buffers, and strips
- Narrower streets without curb and gutters
- Curb cutaways or median storage
- End-of-island bioretention cells
- Permeable pavers
- Green roofs
- Rain gardens and bioretention
- Tree or natural areas preservation
- Rain gardens, rain barrels, and cisterns
- In ground infiltration and storage
- Green building programs such as Florida Water Star
Evan Shane Williams, Ph.D., P.E.
Environmental Protection Department