An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Sarasota County Water Atlas


Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality. As stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals and transport these to a nearby storm sewer system or directly to a river, lake, or coastal waterways. Polluted stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and other wildlife. Sedimentation can destroy aquatic habitat, and high volumes of runoff can cause stream bank erosion. Debris can clog waterways and potentially reach our bays, where it can kill estuarine wildlife and impact habitat.

A good Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan should be a living document that is updated as conditions change at your site.

Best Management Practices for construction site pollution control fall into three general categories:

  1. Reducing soil erosion — Careful land grading, preserving natural vegetation, the use of physical or chemical barriers to prevent windblown soil, seeding and sodding, the creation of temporary stormwater channels, and the use of sand fences can reduce the movement of loose soil by both wind and water.
  2. Controlling runoff — Creating temporary or permanent diversions of stormwater into retention or detention areas can keep rainwater on the construction site and out of nearby stormwater systems or water bodies.
  3. Controlling sediment — Silt fences, storm drain barriers, sediment basins, traps and filters, and stabilized construction site entrances are some of the methods used to stop soil from being transported off the construction site by vehicles or stormwater.

The operator of a regulated construction site must obtain an NPDES stormwater permit and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan to properly manage runoff so that erosion and sedimentation are minimized. This Generic Permit for Stormwater Discharge From Large and Small Construction Activities is issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), under the authority of Section 403.0885, Florida Statutes (F.S.), which is the provision authorizing the State to implement the NPDES program. A brochure describing the FDEP Stormwater Permitting Program for Construction Activity may be found here.

Innovative technologies, such as StormChamber underground systems, provide a subsurface stormwater management system for situations where space is limited.

The Sarasota SEU reviews plans for proposed development to ensure that they comply with the county's infrastructure construction standards and its land development ordinance, which requires all new developments to meet the 100-year storm event criteria and ensures that the runoff rate from new developments is less than or equal to the pre-development rate.

The specifics of Sarasota County NPDES construction permitting requirements are spelled out in Section 54-187(g)(1) of the County's Water Pollution Control Code ordinance.