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Surface Water Management Program

The Water Resources Division's Surface Water Management Program's Mission:

Our mission is to protect the water resources of the County and to protect property from flooding through responsible licensing and encouraging effective uses of our water resources.

Program Description: The Water Resources Division's Surface Water Management Program is responsible for licensing all construction of surface water management systems as required under Broward County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 27, Article V, renewal of operation licenses, and certain environmental resource, wetland resource and surface water management permitting, compliance and enforcement responsibilities under part IV, Ch. 373, F.S. and the rules promulgated thereto as set forth in the Delegation Agreement Among the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District and the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. Please reference the ERP Delegation Boundary Map depicting the areas for which Broward County has delegated authority for the Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) program.

Properly designed, constructed, operated, and maintained drainage systems remove pollutants from storm runoff prior to discharging into Broward County 's surface waters and provide the required levels of flood protection in accordance with established criteria for proposed developments. This program also coordinates with the Biological Resources Division and other County agencies, the South Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and county and municipal building departments as necessary during application reviews and/or construction compliance procedures.

What is Surface Water Management?

Many of the earlier developments in Broward County were built on filled wetlands with storm sewers or ditches draining directly from the streets to our local waterways. Houses and businesses often flooded and untreated storm runoff impacted water quality on our canals and rivers. Today, regulatory criteria for surface water management systems serving developments are set to provide adequate flood control (water quantity) and remove pollutants from storm runoff (water quality). Surface water management (drainage) systems can contain storm drains, street gutters, weirs, sluice gates, dams, pumps, swales, French drains (a.k.a. exfiltration trenches), culverts, drainage wells, dry retention areas, and storm runoff treatment lakes or wetlands. A combination of these facilities is typically utilized to design a surface water management system to meet water quality and water quantity criteria. The Water Resources Division's Surface Water Management Program licenses new developments and major redevelopment projects in those areas of the county outside of independent drainage districts (please see the map of drainage districts on the environmental atlas).

Licenses: The Water Resources Division Surface Water Management Program issues two types of licenses; a formal Surface Water Management License and a Surface Water Management General License as well as certain SFWMD and FDEP environmental resource (ERP), wetland resource and surface water management permits (MSSW). Application forms are available electronically in PDF. Please see the surface water management license fee schedule and the SFWMD and/or FDEP fee schedule to determine the application fees for the license/permit for which you will be applying.

Surface Water Management License: Projects greater than or equal to one acre in size are required to be submitted for a formal review. The application information for this type of license request is evaluated within 30 days (or less) and could result in a request for additional information. The Code does not allow a surface water management license to be issued in the absence of reasonable assurances by the applicant that the surface water management system is in compliance with Article V of the Code. Complete applications are processed within 90 days (or less) from the day they are rendered complete. Note: The completion date is the day the final piece of information needed to complete the application for approval (or denial) is submitted by the applicant.

General License: Projects less than one acre in size qualify for a General License and are evaluated as an "over the counter" review. These types of projects usually consist of small parking lot additions and/or minor drainage improvements. The fee for this license is $250.00.

State Environmental Resource or Surface Management Permit: Please see the delegation agreement for information on the types of permits for which Broward County has delegated authority.

Surface Water Management Application Checklist: This document is very useful guide and contains a listing of items to be submitted with a new application. New! We are now requesting a hard copy and an electronic copy of the boundary survey with North American Datum (NAD 83) coordinates of the proposed project. Hint: Submitting the appropriate information by using the checklist will minimize the number of comments generated by review staff. Non-binding pre-application meetings are welcomed and are particularly useful to those that are new to the Code. Usually, general concepts of the proposed surface water management system and application procedures are discussed.

Best Management Practices (including dewatering) on Construction Sites: The Florida Storm water, Erosion, and Sedimentation Control Inspector's Manual contains BMPs for construction activities during and after construction to reduce erosion and sedimentation and to properly manage runoff for both storm water quantity and quality. This guide should be consulted prior to conducting construction or dewatering activities. Note: The South Florida Water Management District should also be contacted at 1-800-432-2045 when dewatering is proposed to determine the consumptive use (water use) permit requirements for the proposed dewatering activity. The County's Environmental Engineering and Permitting Division should also be contacted at 954-519-1260 when dewatering is proposed.

Procedure for obtaining a release(s) of a Certificate(s) of Occupancy: Please review our inspection guideline brochure entitled "What to Expect When We Are Inspecting". Knowing what we are looking for should help you prepare for our inspection and expedite the receipt of your Certificate of Occupancy.

Broward County's and the National Flood Insurance Program: With the cooperation of other County agencies, the Environmental License and Building Permitting Division assists in maintaining the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Community Rating System (CRS) in good standing which presently entitles policy holders in unincorporated Broward County to a 15% discount to their flood insurance premiums. The County's administration of its floodplain management regulations and other activities have resulted in nearly $1 million savings to its residents in the unincorporated area. Through the Surface Water Management Program and other governmental agencies, the 15% discount is maintained by a number of activities including County drainage system maintenance, stricter regulatory standards, field visits, complaint resolution, flood zone inquiry requests, and community outreach projects such as the annual publication of the Flood News.

Flood Zones: The Environmental License and Building Permitting Division provides flood zone information including Letters of Map Amendments (LOMA) and Letters of Map Revisions (LOMR) exclusively for the unincorporated areas of Broward County. Individuals seeking flood zone information outside unincorporated Broward need to contact their municipalities (contact your floodplain manager). General information about flood zones can be found here. Please be aware that FEMA typically requires a thirty-day waiting period between the time flood insurance is purchased and the time coverage is in force.​​​​