What You Can Do

Top Tips For Protecting Florida’s Waters

Yard waste such as grass, leaves and small tree limbs should be properly disposed of. Yard waste and other debris, if not properly disposed of, can be delivered to our waterways during periods of rainfall and storm events with negative impacts on the environment and stormwater infrastructure.
Always pick up after your pets right away. Pet waste left on the ground can introduce bacteria into our waterbodies where it presents a health risk.
Minimize the use of fertilizer. Excess phosphorus and nitrogen applied to the land surface can cause nutrient over-enrichment of surface waters that, in turn, leads to algal blooms.
Report new algal bloom sightings. DEP tests for the presence of cyanobacteria and algal toxins.
Follow #ProtectingFLTogether for the latest updates on monitoring results and other important water quality information

Blue-Green Algae

Freshwater Algal Blooms
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Report Freshwater Algal Blooms Information On Blue-Green Algal Blooms
Saltwater Algal Blooms
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Report Saltwater Algal Blooms Information about red tide or other saltwater blooms
Public Health Issues
Florida Department of Health
Report Human Illness
  • Florida Poison Control Center can be reached 24/7 at 800-222-1222
Contact DOH County Office for Other Public Health Concerns

Stormwater Management

Help Manage Stormwater Runoff

You can help mitigate or prevent the damaging effects of stormwater runoff by following these guidelines:

Download Stormwater Guide

Never dump anything down storm drains.
Clean up trash and yard waste in your yard and gutters, and around storm drains.
Direct rain gutters and downspouts away from paved surfaces.
Use mulch, bricks, gravel or other porous materials for walkways, patios and driveways.
Reduce soil erosion by planting over bare spots in the landscape.
Sweep debris off driveways and sidewalks instead of using a hose.
Clean up oil spills and leaks on driveways.
Do not blow leaf litter and grass clippings into the road or stormwater systems.
Keep drainage systems such as ditches, swales and ponds clear of debris and trash, including grass clippings, leaves and tree branches.
Report clogged or damaged stormwater systems, including eroded slopes, to your local government or other proper authority.
Do not fill stormwater ponds, swales and retention systems. Fill reduces the storage and treatment capacity of the stormwater system.
Plant trees along the edges of stormwater ponds to help control soil erosion.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows

What You Can Do At Home

A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is any overflow, spill, release, discharge or diversion of untreated or partially treated wastewater from a sanitary sewer system. A sanitary sewer overflow can introduce wastewater onto streets and into stormwater systems where it impacts surface waterbodies such lakes, rivers and estuaries. SSOs can also cause wastewater to back-up in toilets, sinks and drains before it can reach a treatment facility.  By taking the proper steps you can help to reduce the overall impact that SSOs have on the environment and local infrastructure.  

These steps include:  

  1. not washing fats, oils or grease down the drain;
  2. minimizing water use during heavy rain storms; and
  3. minimizing water use during power outages.

Download SSO Guide

Collect oil and grease in a container and dispose of it in the trash, not down the drain.
Scrape grease and food scraps from dishes into the trash can.
Use sink and shower drain strainers.
Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units when it is raining. The units require lots of water to operate properly, and they add to the volume of solids in a septic tank or sewage system. To avoid maintenance problems and overflows, compost food scraps or throw them in the trash.
To minimize water entering the sewer system, avoid doing laundry or using the dishwasher during heavy rain storms.
Route rain gutter downspouts onto your lawn or into the stormwater system.
Make sure your home’s sewer cleanout cap is intact.
Avoid planting trees and shrubs close to sewer lines as tree roots can intrude into a sewer line and cause cracks and clogs.
If you experience flooding, never remove sewer manhole covers or your home’s sewer cleanout cap to drain the flood water into the sewer system.
Do not use the toilet as a trash can.