What are the problems with Stormwater?

Pollution is carried in rainwater.  When it rains, all the rainwater that is not absorbed into the ground (or evaporated) carries any contaminants that may be distributed on lawns, streets, roofs, and parking lots and straight to the waters surrounding the island either directly over the beaches or street ends or through pipes or wells.  Pollution reduction and treatment are needed to reduce the amount of contamination flowing into the nearshore waters in which we swim and fish.

The goal of Stormwater Piping

Reducing the amount of water in the streets was the original use of stormwater piping.  Because of rigorous design standards, the Clean Water Act, and state and local codes, we are required to reduce the pollutant load to our waters, which are the best in the state and categorized as "Outstanding Florida Waters."  Therefore our stormwater program is two-fold, to reduce flooding and standing water and reduce the number of pollutants getting to the system and then treat the contaminates that enter the system.  The City's Generic Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 GP) contains a five-year plan indicating how the city will comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).  As of January 15, 2005, the City was required to operate under this permit.


The requirements for NPDES are stringent; therefore, there is a strong emphasis on education and public participation throughout the initial five years.  The program's goal, which stems from the Clean Water Act of 1972, is to eliminate pollutant discharges into American waters.

The City immediately took action to implement the elements outlined in the plan.  Although the city has taken great strides in recent years to reduce illicit discharges, we welcome this opportunity to develop further systems and educational elements that will improve our Outstanding Florida Waters.  Highlights of the program are:

  • Construction site best management practice ordinance and inspection
  • Detection and elimination of illicit discharges through inspection and codes
  • Each element of the permit has measurable goals and schedules for implementation
  • Municipal operation pollution prevention and good housekeeping
  • Private property infrastructure inspection and maintenance requirements
  • Public education and outreach
  • Public participation in ordinance revisions and clean-ups

Show All Answers

1. How do I join a Plogging the Keys Volunteer group?
2. Who do I call for storm drain questions?
3. Who cleans out storm drains in Key West?
4. What is the storm drainage assessment fee?
5. What are the problems with Stormwater?
6. What is a Stormwater Utility?
7. How much is the service fee?