Alachua County crafts rules to tame stormwater, cut pollution

Polluted stormwater eventually makes its way to groundwater, and, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 90 percent of state residents depend on groundwater for drinking water.
And if polluted stormwater makes its way to surface water — lakes, springs, ponds, rivers — an overabundance of nitrates and phosphates can spur algae blooms, not unlike those that plague Florida water bodies.
A new assessment The environmental protection department has developed a stormwater assessment that applies to property in unincorporated Alachua County, or property that is not part of a city.
The stormwater assessment applies to structures, like rooftops, parking lots and other surfaces impervious to water.
The county could go to every impervious property in unincorporated Alachua County and measure its dimensions, but Bird said that wouldn’t be cost-efficient.
Of the remaining half, 75 percent will go to cleaning polluted water, and 25 percent will go to promoting water quality awareness, Bird said.
“It’s not like cable TV.” Manual for developers The environmental protection department is also working on a code for new development within the county.
The county’s stormwater assessment now needs to develop funds to pay for “legacy pollution,” Bird said, and new development codes need to follow research that could work toward protecting the environment.
The ground in Alachua County is different on the east from the west.
“There are certainly things we can do to improve the situation,” said Clark, the UF researcher.

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