Palmetto Bay Stormwater Management

All About Stormwater

Stormwater is basically a way of describing an accumulation of rainwater. This rainwater is either absorbed into porous surfaces like grass, forests, farm fields, and other areas of “open ground,” or the rainwater collects on non-porous (or impervious) surfaces like streets, parking lots, and rooftops.

It's these impervious areas where rainwater collects that is the challenge for stormwater planners. In order to keep these impervious areas from flooding, streets, parking lots and buildings are often designed with underground pipes and basins that drain this stormwater. Stormwater managers face three primary challenges:

  • Drain stormwater quickly in order to prevent flooding
  • Ensure stormwater is clean of contaminants picked up along the way
  • Use stormwater to recharge groundwater so that drinking water supplies will be available

In addition, these challenges must be accomplished taking into account existing infrastructure, working within limited space, and using a limited budget as economically as possible.

Stormwater Pollution

Rainfall constantly washes away the dirt and pollution of our urban activities. This pollution can include litter, oil and other vehicle fluids, and any other chemicals that are on the ground. As industrial, commercial, and residential development increases, dirty stormwater has become a major pollutant to the environment. In addition to their being more contaminants, areas where open soil once soaked up the rain are now covered with concrete and buildings.

Stormwater is often carried through drainage pipes to outfalls into large bodies of water. This water is often not filtered or treated before being discharged and can contaminate our our canals, rivers, lakes, Biscayne Bay, and eventually the ocean.

There are three main types of stormwater pollution:

  •     Litter: cans, paper and plastic bags, and very commonly, cigarette butts
  •     Chemicals: detergents, automotive fluids, and fertilizers
  •     Organic waste: leaves, lawn and garden clippings, and animal excrement.

Impact of Stormwater

There are several factors affecting how much pollution is discharged into our waterways. The amount of litter and automotive fluid on streets and overuse of pesticides and fertilizers in gardens will affect what enters the drainage system during rainstorms.

Once stormwater pollution reaches our waterways, it can be harmful to plants and animals. Large doses of organic pollution can cause fish and marine life to suffocate from lack of dissolved oxygen (consumed in the process of decomposition), litter can injure unsuspecting fish, turtles, and even manatees and whales, and harsh chemicals (like automotive and cleaning fluids) can be toxic to marine life.


Stormwater Master Plan

The Stormwater Master Plan provides a roadmap for implementing best practice operations and maintenance initiatives so that residents can enjoy cleaner and dryer roadways.

This plan identifies low-lying areas within our municipal boundaries, in order to systematically pursue appropriate opportunities to protect surface-water quality and to reduce flooding. The Master Plan continues to be used as a blueprint that ensures proper repairs are being made, and that storm drains are being installed and maintained as needed.


Links to the Stormwater Master Plan are provided below, by section:

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Public Services Department
Village of Palmetto Bay