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Stormwater Pollution

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Stormwater is the single largest source of pollution in the watershed. Nitrogen is the primary pollutant in Tampa Bay and stormwater accounts for approximately 59% of total nitrogen loading.  An excess of nitrogen is associated with harmful algal blooms (such as red tide), reduced oxygen, fish kills, and loss of essential fish habitat such as seagrass. Stormwater runoff also serves as a major vehicle for marine debris and microplastics to reach and contaminate our water sources. Marine debris and microplastics impact the environment in a number of negative ways and pose a risk to human health through accumulation of PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls), a carcinogenic compound.


  • Never dump anything down storm drains.

  • Clean up trash, yard and pet waste on your property and around storm drains.

  • Do not blow leaf litter and grass clippings into the road or stormwater systems.

  • Direct rain gutters and downspouts away from paved surfaces. Learn more here

  • Use mulch, bricks, gravel or other porous materials for walkways, patios and driveways.

  • Control soil erosion by planting over bare spots in the landscape.

  • Sweep debris off of driveways and sidewalks instead of using a hose. Clean up oil spills and leaks on driveways.

  • Keep drainage systems such as ditches, swales and ponds clear of debris and trash, including grass clippings and branches. Report clogged or damaged systems or eroded slopes to your city or county.

  • BeFloridianNow! Follow all fertilizer ordinances and consider transitioning to a native landscape. 

  • Consider installing a rain barrel or rain garden.

  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on your lawn where water will penetrate the soil and not runoff as polluted stormwater. 

  • Plant trees around the perimeter of a pond on your property. Trees filter the water and lower the water table.

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