Reducing Stormwater Pollution

Only Rain Down the Drain

The stormdrain system was established to prevent flooding in communities by directing stormwater runoff away from property. Stormwater runoff is the water that flows off of roofs, parking lots, driveways, and other hard surfaces during rainstorms. Stormwater flows through stormdrains into underground pipes that transport the water into creeks, lakes, wetlands, or retention/detention basins.

Stormdrains in Alachua county do not lead to water treatment plants. Instead, they often convey stormwater directly into local water bodies, carrying all the contaminants picked up along the way (trash, oil, pet waste, fertilizer, grass clippings and leaves, etc.). Pollution in stormwater can harm local wildlife, reduce oxygen levels, and lead to excessive algae that can impair natural systems.

Many of our local creeks and lakes flow into sinkholes where stormwater pollution can end up in the aquifer below. The aquifer is the source of all of our water, including the water we drink. The aquifer also feeds the springs and rivers we treasure. By minimizing our personal pollution, we can help protect local water and wildlife, the springs and rivers we love, and the water we drink! Remember, “Only Rain Down the Drain”!



Quick Tips for Reducing Stormwater Pollution

  • Eliminate the use of fertilizer in your yards (or at least use minimal slow release fertilizer with no phosphorus).
  • Plant Florida-Friendly or native vegetation that does not require fertilizers, pesticides, or excessive water.
  • Never blow grass clippings or leaf litter into the street.
  • "Scoop it, Bag it, Trash it"! By picking up after your dog, you keep harmful bacteria from reaching waterways.
  • Minimize stormwater leaving your property by using rain barrels and rain gardens. Direct downspouts to grassy areas.
  • Take all hazardous materials to the Hazardous Waste Collection Center.

Clean Creeks Hotline

The Clean Creeks Hotline can be used to report discharges in the community that may impact the health of local water. County Environmental Protection staff address reports of pollution and educate individuals to avoid future discharges and protect local water quality. Help keep Alachua County creeks clean. If you see an illegal discharge, call the Clean Creeks Hotline: 352-264-6800.

  • An illegal discharge includes any of the following released into a waterway, road, or stormdrain:
  • Cleaners and solvents
  • Wash water (car, mop, carpet cleaning water)
  • Landscaping debris (grass clippings, leaves)
  • Landscaping chemicals (fertilizer and pesticide)
  • Oils and greases Paints
  • Pet waste
  • Swimming poll discharge
  • Construction sediment/dirt
  • Litter
  • Wastewater

NPDES and the Gainesville Clean Water Partnership

Gainesville Clean Water Partnership Logo

The Gainesville Clean Water Partnership was formed in 2001, when Alachua County, the City of Gainesville, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) joined to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Separate Stormwater Systems (MS4) program in the Gainesville Urbanized Area.

Quarterly reports summarize Alachua County Environmental Protection’s efforts to reduce stormwater pollution and include inspections of hazardous materials facilities, response to spills and complaints, public outreach efforts, and investigative projects that are conducted as part of the illicit detection and elimination (IDDEP) program. Reports on efforts over the years are available by request, please email



Visit Our Friends at
"We otter have clean water!" is your source of information on the creeks, wetlands, and watersheds in Gainesville. Learn how our community cares for water through stormwater management and how you can help keep local waterways beautiful and healthy.


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