In 1972, Congress enacted the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, known as the Clean Water Act, to prevent pollutants from reaching our nation’s waterways. An amendment to this act in 1977 made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant into navigable bodies of water without a permit.
The City of Fort Lauderdale, like other cities, obtained a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The permit requires the City of Fort Lauderdale to develop and implement various stormwater management programs, monitor pollution of the City's waterways, and increase public awareness to generate proactive behaviors that prevent stormwater pollution. This permit must be renewed on an annual basis and the City must continuously fulfill certain requirements on a daily basis to ensure re-certification. DEP closely monitors the City's program and progress through annual inspections of the City’s facilities and records.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program
The City of Fort Lauderdale operates and maintains a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), which is a publicly-owned system comprised of ditches, curbs, catch basins, storm drains, and underground pipes that collect or transport stormwater and discharge it to the state’s surface waters. Municipalities, counties, drainage districts, colleges, military bases, or prisons can operate MS4.
Phase I of the MS4 Program addresses discharges of stormwater runoff from medium and large MS4, which serve areas with populations of 100,000 or greater. The City of Fort Lauderdale is classified as a Phase I MS4.
As part of the MS4 Program, the City has an ongoing partnership with Broward County to perform a comprehensive water quality study to evaluate the effects of stormwater on the water quality of area canals and rivers. This study is a countywide effort that will enable the City to identify potential pollution trouble spots that will need further attention.