The Florida Department of Environmental Protection
recently awarded nearly $3 million for six stormwater projects to communities across Florida. Funded through annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) grants support projects designed to improve water quality in impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida's stringent water-quality standards.
"The department is eager to partner with communities to improve water quality in coastal estuaries," said Drew Bartlett, DEP deputy secretary for ecosystems restoration. "Healthy waterways are a top priority for Florida's residents and visitors."
Specifically, the TMDL grant program provides funding assistance for communities to implement projects to better manage or treat stormwater. Stormwater runoff is generated when rain flows over land and other surfaces and does not seep into the ground. As this runoff flows over paved streets, parking lots and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, nutrients, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is left untreated and runs into nearby surface waters.
Recently awarded TMDL grants for stormwater infrastructure improvements include:
Cape Coral: Awarded $800,000 for replacement of nearly 600 existing stormwater catch basin inlets throughout the city with raised inlets designed to accept runoff from roadside grassy swales. This project will help with overflow and reduce pollutants into Charlotte Harbor during intense rainfall.
Fort Myers: Awarded $250,000 for new grassy swales, sedimentation boxes, closed drainage piping and back-flow preventers throughout 379 acres of residential and commercial areas of Fort Myers Beach and Estero Bay. This project will help decrease nutrients and sedimentation into Estero Bay, Florida's first aquatic preserve.
Village of Palmetto Bay: Awarded $550,000 for catch basin retrofits, installation of additional catch basins, sedimentation boxes, baffle boxes and exfiltration trenches throughout the village. This will help reduce pollutants flowing into Biscayne Bay, southeast Florida's largest coastal estuary.
Pompano Beach: Awarded $300,000 for a retrofit project including grassy swales, water control structures, baffle boxes and exfiltration trenches in the Avondale community. This project will address flooding in low lying public right of way areas by intercepting stormwater runoff from those areas before it reaches three existing outfalls into the Pompano Canal, which flows into the South Fork New River, the Intracoastal Waterway and ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean.
South Miami: Awarded $100,000 for drainage improvements including storm drain systems with catch basins and exfiltration trenches along a portion of Southwest 59th Avenue. This project will improve water quality in Snapper Creek Canal and ultimately, Biscayne Bay.
Volusia County: Awarded $935,618 for drainage improvements including connection and expansion of Riviera Oaks wet detention pond to a smaller adjacent pond. This project will reduce the force of extreme storm events and reduce pollutants flowing into the Halifax River and ultimately, the Indian River Lagoon.
Since 2002, the department has awarded approximately $120 million in TMDL funding, including $6.1 million to date in fiscal year 2016-17.