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Examples of Environmental Concerns


Help Us keep Our Environment Safe:

Call the Environmental Response Line At 954-519-1499 Or Fill Out A Complaint Form
On-Line

Environmental Complaint: This term applies to any information regarding an alleged environmental violation or problem received from the public that falls within the jurisdiction of Department regulations. This excludes information regarding an emergency notification

Emergency Notification: Self-reported notification of releases or problems required by either the Broward County Code or license.   

Types of Environmental Concerns Investigated by EPGMD by Program  Concerns NOT Investigated by EPGMD 

Air Quality

  • Odors
  • Noise from industrial, manufacturing, commercial/business, government facilities
  • Unconfined Emissions (e.g., dust, paint overspray) discharges
  • Visible Air Emissions
  • Improper Asbestos removal
  • Open Burning without approval

 

Air Quality

 Aquatic and Wetland Resources

  • Any activity in, on, under or over waters of Broward County
  • Impacts to wetlands, mangroves, and seagrasses
  • Mangrove trimming, alteration, or removal
  • Dredging or filling in lakes, ponds, canals, etc.
  • Dock / seawall / boatlift installation, removal, repair or replacement
 Aquatic and Wetland Resources
  • Manatee emergencies (contact FL Fish and Wildlife at 1-888-404-3922; Cellular customers: *FWC or #FWC)
  • Manatee Protection Policy (contact 954-519-1218)
  • Sea Turtle emergencies (contact 954-328-0580)
  • Land Clearing (Clearing & Grubbing permits issued by cities but must have prior wetland determination from AWR)
  • Maintenance of wetland/natural areas

 Hazardous Material

  • Hazardous material discharges (including petroleum contamination)
  • Hazardous Material Facilities
    • Auto body shops 
    • Auto repair shops
    • Businesses which contain: 
      -photo developing processes 
      -emergency generators 
      -small storage tanks
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Gasoline Stations
    • Hospitals
    • Manufacturers
    • Marinas
    • Electro Plating Cos.
    • Printing Cos.
    • Salvage yards
    • Medical facilities
    • Schools
  • Storage Tank Systems (e.g., gasoline stations)
  • Abandoned Drums

Hazardous Material


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Smoking Vehicles

Report Smoking Vehicles

Smoking Vehicles (None)

 Tree Preservation 
  • Tree Removal
  • Improper pruning
  • Tree Protection from construction

In the following areas only:

  • Unincorporated Broward County, property owned or controlled by Broward County and School Board property
  • County Environmental Designated Lands (LAPC, ERL, NRA, NFC, etc.)
  • Town of Lauderdale by the Sea
  • City of Lighthouse Point
  • City of Tamarac
  • City of North Lauderdale
  • City of Wilton Manors
  • City of Lauderdale Lakes
  • Town of Hillsboro Beach
  • City of Pembroke Park
  • City of Lazy lake
  • Village of Sea Ranch Lakes

Tree Preservation


Cities with certified programs unless property is owned or controlled by Broward County, School Board or is Environmental Designated Lands

Tree Trimmer Licensing call (954) 765-4400 Ext. 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Waste Management and Waste Transporters

  • Unauthorized disposal of solid waste
  • Waste Management facilities
    • Borrow Pit reclamations
    • Landfills
    • Material Recovery areas or Transfer Stations
    • Compost areas
    • Waste tire collection areas
    • Construction and demolition (C&D) debris disposal areas
  • Transporters of sludge, discarded hazardous materials or biomedical waste

 Waste Management and Waste Transporters

  • Litter
  • Municipal waste collection, schedules or operations
  • Waste tire transporters

 

 

 

 


 

 Water Resource Management

  • Discharges to storm drains and waterbodies
  • Discharges of domestic wastewater (sewage)
  • Discharges of commercial or industrial wastewater
  • Fish kills. Common Causes of Fish Kills
  • Drainage Systems/Flooding
 

Water Resource Management

 

 

Air Quality

Odor 

Incidents involving the release of air pollutants from a stationary commercial/industrial establishment or business that cause objectionable odors. An example would include odors from a malfunctioning sewage lift station.

Specific Cautions: Do not confront any individual causing the problem. 

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, landmarks, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Relate the odor to common things (sewage, bleach, roofing tar, etc.) if possible

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Odors may be a sign that a pollutant is being emitted into the atmosphere. These pollutants may decrease air quality and cause air pollution.

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Noise

Broward County regulates excessive noise from commercial, industrial and institutional sources that may create a public nuisance.  The code establishes maximum allowable sound levels that may not be exceeded.  Certain sources of noise are not regulated under the code.  These include single and multi-family residential sources, restaurants, night clubs, motor vehicles, boats, trains and aircraft.  Staff conduct inspections to determine the source of noise, to assess whether the noise exceeds allowable levels, and often communicate with operators at the source of the noise to identify mitigating measures.

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Unconfined Emissions

Technically defined as finely divided solid particulate material that is airborne, may occur from a variety of activities around the county, such as:

Dust

  • Dry cutting of pavers or concrete
  • Large trucks, buses, and heavy equipment traveling on unpaved surfaces
  • Operations at construction and demolition debris recycling facilities
  • Concrete batch plants

Incidents involving the release of dust into the outdoor atmosphere without taking reasonable efforts to prevent a release. Examples of reasonable efforts are:

  • Applying water to unpaved surfaces
  • Connecting a water source to the concrete/paver cutting saw
  • Covering loaded trucks
  • Covering process and sorting areas
  • Paving and maintenance of roads, parking areas, and yards

Specific Cautions: If at all possible, do not inhale the dust. Move to an area not impacted by the dust.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Company name, type of business, or phone numbers
  • Color of the dust

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Heavy dust or other airborne particles affect visibility, public health, and air quality.

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Sanding or Spray Painting

Businesses and residents are allowed to sand and spray paint outside. However, they are required to take reasonable precautions to contain the dust and paint droplets (a.k.a overspray) generated from sanding and spray painting activities.

A business or person may sand or paint a vehicle outside as long as reasonable precautions are in place to prevent the paint dust or droplets from drifting off of their property or impacting the environment. Examples of reasonable precautions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Application of water to suppress the dust and filters over storm drains to trap the dust particles
  • Use of hoods, fans, or filters
  • Enclosure or covering around or over the area being sanded or spray painted

A worker is sanding a boat bottom prior to painting.  Incidents involving pollutants which exist in a droplet or dust form. These pollutants escape into the environment from sanding, scraping, or spray painting operations.

Specific Cautions: Do not approach the area or confront the person conducting the sanding or spray painting activity. If at all possible move up wind of the source of the pollution.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Look for any unconfined paint or dust escaping into the environment
  • Where sanding or spray painting is conducted on the water, the immediate area should be surrounded by a floating boom (see picture of boom above, under Discovery of Contamination) and/or curtain in such a manner that the over spray is contained

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499 , please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Contamination of water may affect wildlife. Airborne particles may affect visibility, air quality, and public health.

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Visible Air Emissions

Broward County regulates visible emissions (smoke) from sources of air pollution.  Regulated sources are typically commercial or industrial fuel combustion operations (e.g. crematories).  The code establishes certain limits for the density (opacity) of smoke.  Air quality compliance inspectors are trained in identifying theses allowable levels and conduct inspections to verify compliance with the provisions in code.

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Improper Asbestos Removal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established regulations to protect the public from exposure to asbestos fibers that may result from the disturbance and/or removal of asbestos containing building products during the renovation or demolition of public, commercial, industrial and certain types of residential structures. Through an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Broward County is authorized to ensure compliance with the federal asbestos regulations. The asbestos compliance program requires a submittal of a notification for demolition and building renovation projects and inspections by Broward County staff.

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Example of open burning.

Open Burning

Outside burning of garbage, trash, vegetative debris, or demolition waste is prohibited and should be reported. Very few open burning operations are allowed in Broward County and these require prior notification to the Department. These include small ceremonial bonfires, fire-fighter training exercises, agricultural burning, and prescribed silviculture burning.

Specific Cautions: Do not confront any individual causing the problem. Do not breathe the smoke.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, landmarks, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Type of material being burned

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Smoke or other airborne particles affect visibility, public health, and air quality.

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Aquatic and Wetland Resources

Impacts to Wetlands or Mangroves / Dredging or Filling in a Waterbody / Dock or Seawall Construction

Incidents involving any of the following activities are regulated:

  • Any activity in, on, under or over waters of Broward County,
  • Dredging of (the removal of material) or filling in (the placement of material) any surface water body including rivers, canals, lakes, ponds, etc. or wetlands,
  • Impacts to mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs or other natural resources,
  • Trimming, alteration or removal of mangroves,
  • Turbidity (cloudy, milky water) in canals or waterways (usually from dredging activities),
  • Clearing of vegetation along canal or lake banks, in wetlands or on undeveloped sites (may contain jurisdictional wetlands).
  • Installation, removal, repair or replacement of docks, finger piers, floating vessel / jet ski platforms, seawalls, boatlifts, mooring pilings, etc.
  • Installation, replacement or repair of culverts and headwalls,
  • Shoreline stabilization with rip rap, geotubes or other materials,
  • Removal, replacement or installation of utility / transmission lines,
  • Operation of a marine facility with 5 or more boat slips.

Specific Cautions: Do not confront individuals

Details to note: 

  • Location of incident, including addresses, landmarks, waterway, city, zip code, etc.
  • Time and date of observation,
  • Type of equipment operating (bulldozer, backhoe, crane with dredge bucket etc.),
  • Any identify markings (company name, telephone number, etc.) on equipment,
  • Type of potential violation observed
  • Type of material (soil, wood, construction debris, rock, bricks, et.) being placed in surface water or wetland

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Mangroves help to filter upland run-off, stabilize bottom sediments, maintain water quality and protect shorelines from erosion. Loss of wetlands results in loss of breeding, nursery and feeding areas for fish and wildlife.

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Impacts to the Reef Community

Incidents involving:

  • Illegal collection or possession of octo-corals (sea fans etc.) or stony corals
  • Damage to the reef by physical contact such as:
    • Small boat anchors
    • Large anchors of ships waiting for Port Everglades berth assignments anchored outside of the designated anchorage
    • Large ships grounding on the reef

Impacts to the reef community by small boats can be avoided if boat owners and captains utilize one of the numerous, permanent mooring buoy anchors installed near the reef throughout the County.

Only individuals that possess current permits for collection of corals or "live rock" may take live, healthy stony corals and octo-corals. Known violations should be reported to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at (1-888-404-3922 or *FWC from a cell phone), Large ships waiting berthing in Port Everglades must use the designated anchorage south of the Port channel. Suspected or confirmed violations should be reported directly to the U.S. Coast Guard, Station Fort Lauderdale at 954-927-1611 .The requirements are that the ship's anchor be located in the anchorage. The ship itself may swing outside of the boundaries.

Specific Cautions: Do not approach or confront an individual collecting coral or causing reef damage. Keep your distance from any ship anchored off of Port Everglades.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including landmarks, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Name of the ship or boat causing reef damage
  • Description of the ship or boat (size, color, flag)
  • Company name if visible on the ship or boat

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Potential loss of slow growing coral and upsetting the balance of the reef community, which is very valuable to the marine environment.

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Hazardous Material

Hazardous Material Discharges

Abandoned drums potentially containing hazardous materials sit on a vacant lot.Hazardous materials are substances that, because of their chemical nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, and/or the environment if they are released. The hazards associated with these substances can exist during production, storage, transportation, use, or disposal. Examples of some common hazardous materials include: motor oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, pool chlorine, paint thinner, anti-freeze, mercury thermometers, pesticides, and herbicides.

Various containers, some knocked over, have released liquids in the street.Incidents involving the release (leaks, spills, accidents) or potential release of hazardous materials into the environment. Hazardous material releases may occur from a variety of incidents including vehicular accidents, leaking containers, improper secondary containment, improper fueling, equipment failure, illegal disposal, improper maintenance, and train derailments.

Specific Cautions: Do not approach any hazardous materials release, inhale vapors, or touch or taste the released materials. Always keep your safety foremost in your mind and call 911 if the release is an emergency situation.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Origin of the release including the type of facility
  • Company name, vehicle type, tag number, model
  • Any other information which may assist is the identification of the hazardous substance released or the cause of the release

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Releases can contaminate the air and ground or can migrate to and contaminate storm drains, canals, lakes, and groundwater potentially threatening our drinking water supply. Additionally, certain hazardous material releases can cause severe burning of the eyes, noise, throat, and skin or may cause other adverse and irreversible health effects.

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Example of contamination in water, with absorbent pads placed on contamination to soak it up

Discovery of Contamination

Incidents involving the detection of petroleum products or chemicals in the soil, surface water, or groundwater, such as oil spills on land or water, chemical spills, or leaking underground storage tanks. Discolored soil or petroleum odors in groundwater are signs that contamination may be present.

Example of contamination in water, with absorbent pads placed on contamination to soak it up. Yellow boom contains the contamination in small area.

Specific Cautions: Do not touch, smell, or taste contaminants, contaminated soil, or water.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred
  • Look for visibly stained soils and note size of contaminated area
    Labels, names, phone numbers, or markings from any suspected source

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Contamination of our natural resources can migrate to storm sewers, canals, lakes, and impact our groundwater, and potentially threaten our drinking water supply.

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Hazardous Material Facilities

Hazardous material facility is any site or area, excluding vehicles used solely for the transportation of people or property, where either of the following occurs:

  • Any extremely hazardous substance in excess of the threshold planning quantity as defined by the most current version of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. § 11001, et seq. (1991) is present.
  • Within a one (1) month period of time, an aggregate amount of twenty-five (25) gallons or more or an equivalent dry volume of hazardous material are stored, handled, generated, used, processed, manufactured, disposed or are otherwise present.

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Storage Tank Systems

Broward County regulates the storage of hazardous materials in above ground and under ground storage tanks. 
Storage tanks regulated have capacities greater than 550 gallons if they are above ground and greater than 110 gallons if they are underground.  Tanks of smaller volumes are regulated under the Hazardous Material regulations.

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Abandoned Drums

Abandoned drums or similar containers that are left by roadsides, in ditches, on empty lots, or in abandoned warehouses may contain dangerous hazardous waste/chemicals.  These drums of toxic waste/chemicals are usually "abandoned" to avoid the cost of proper and safe disposal.  Leaking abandoned drums potentially create a health risk for individuals who accidentally ingest or touch the drums’ contents, contaminated surface water, groundwater, sludge or soils around the drums.  In addition, leaking drums can also contaminate soils, surface water and groundwater and pose a threat to our water supply. So, if you see an abandoned drum, please report it promptly!  Call 911 if the drum or container is bulging, hissing, leaking, releasing a vapor cloud, or there are dead animals in the vicinity.

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Smoking Vehicles

Incidents involving gasoline-powered motor vehicles which generate visible emissions of smoke from the exhaust pipe for more than a continuous period of 5-seconds or diesel-powered motor vehicles which generate visible emissions of smoke from the exhaust pipe for more than a continuous period of 5 seconds while in the cruise mode or idle mode.

Specific Cautions: Do not confront the individual operating the motor vehicle.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, landmarks, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred
  • Tag number, vehicle make, model, and color

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report as they are required for follow-up actions.

Environmental Effects: The exhaust from motor vehicles account for more than 50% of the air pollution in Broward County. Additionally, ten percent (10%) of vehicles cause about 50% of the total air pollution generated by motor vehicles.

Smoking Vehicle Complaint Form

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Tree Preservation

Tree removal, abuse, and protection from construction 

Tree protection and preservation is regulated by Broward County except in municipalities that have received certification from the Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department. Broward County retains jurisdiction on all properties owned or controlled by Broward County, the Broward County School Board, and any site designated as a Local Area of Particular Concern, Urban Wilderness Inventory Area, Natural Resource Area, or Environmentally Sensitive Land or Historic Tree. The removal of a tree in most instances requires a permit.

Definition: Incidents involving:

  • Tree removal (excluding nuisance species such as Brazilian Pepper, Australian Pine, Melaleuca, Bischoffia, Earleaf Acacia, Norfolk Island Pine and Schefflera)
  • Improper tree pruning (e.g. topping, hatracking, leaving stubs, splitting limb ends, removing tree bark, overlifting a tree and shaping a tree)
  • Tree damage during construction
  • Land clearing in forested areas

Specific Cautions: Do not confront individuals.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including landmarks, block number, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Types of trees being removed or abused
  • Company names printed on vehicles or land clearing equipment
  • License plate numbers of any vehicles parked on site

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Loss of trees results in a loss of oxygen production and air purification, an increase in soil erosion, an increase in airborne particulates, a loss of habitat for wildlife and a loss of aesthetic comfort. Since trees which shade homes reduce energy consumption, a loss of trees can increase energy consumption thus increasing pollution.

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Waste Management

Unauthorized Disposal of Solid Waste

Incidents involving solid waste, include the depositing, dumping, or storage of construction and demolition debris, vegetative debris, garbage, rubbish, refuse, or other discarded material by a company who should otherwise deposit the material at a landfill, recycling facility, or other authorized solid waste acceptance location.

Example of discarded solid waste.

Specific Cautions: Do not attempt to confront the operator. Keep your safety foremost in your mind.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Facility name
  • Phone number
  • Tag number or markings on transport vehicles

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Improperly handled solid waste can end up buried in unauthorized locations or dumped on vacant lots, run-off from the deposited solid waste could impact surface water and ground water quality.

**Local Code Enforcement should be notified for all other incidents involving the depositing of solid waste.

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Waste Management Facilities

Improper disposal and management of solid waste and the unauthorized presence of hazardous materials results in or contributes to air and water pollution, land blight, and nuisance conditions. Broward County requires that certain solid waste activities and facilities, transfer stations, and waste transporters be managed to eliminate deleterious effects upon the quality of air, water, soil, animal, environmental and human health.

Borrow pits are regulated aquatic resources created by excavation of land. The process of reclaiming a borrow pit back to land by filling with fill material is referred as a borrow pit reclamation project.

A transfer station is any site, location area, or facility whose primary purpose is to store, hold, or process discarded hazardous materials, sludge, or biomedical waste, prior to or during transport to a processing or disposal facility. Excluded from this definition are industrial wastewater treatment systems and industrial wastewater basins.

Solid waste management facilities are landfills, solid waste disposal areas, borrow pit reclamation areas, compost areas, material recovery areas, volume reduction plants, transfer stations, waste tire processing or collection area, or other facility, the purpose of which is recovery, disposal, recycling, depositing, processing, or storage of solid waste and fill material. The term does not include recovered materials processing facilities.

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Waste Transporters


A waste transporter is any person or entity who at any time carries, conveys, bears, or transports discarded hazardous materials, sludge, or biomedical waste for commercial purposes. Broward County issues licenses to authorize the transportation of these materials to, from and within Broward County.

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Water Resource Management

Discharges Into Storm Drains

Storm drains (also referred to as storm sewers) are used to control stormwater runoff only. Stormwater runoff is water from the rain which flows from streets, lawns and rooftops over the ground or pavement without soaking into the ground. The storm drain system includes residential swale areas, roadside ditches, gutters, inlets, catch basins, and underground pipes that collect stormwater and carry it away from our streets, parking lots and yards into nearby waterways. Water entering storm drains does not go through a sewage treatment plant, but flows directly into nearby waterways without treatment. Therefore, nothing should ever be placed or allowed to enter into a storm drain except rain water - “only rain down the drain”.

Example of a discharge from a storm drain that leads to the New River.

Storm drain.  Nothing but rain water should go here.

Example of a storm drain (left) 

Example of a discharge from a storm drain leading into the New River (right)

Incidents involving potential illicit discharges into storm drain systems. This may occur in residential, commercial and industrial areas. The pouring of chemicals, oils, paints, etc., into storm drains is of prime concern. Unfortunately, many people use storm drains to dispose of used oil, grass cuttings, dog feces, etc.

Specific Cautions: Do not confront individuals. Do not approach anyone dumping or disposing of hazardous materials into a storm drain. Call 911 and then call 954-519-1499.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, landmarks, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Physical depiction of the person conducting the activity, company name or logo, and description of any vehicles nearby
  • Labels or markings on containers, if visible

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Most storm drains discharge directly into surface water bodies. Anything put into a storm drain system has the potential to negatively impact surface water quality, may kill aquatic organisms or impair their health, growth or ability to reproduce, can foul drinking water and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.

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Discharges to Water Bodiesturbidity in a water body indicates a discharge.

Some activities can lead to a decrease in water quality. Any redirection of surface water flow and dredge and fill projects, such as dock construction requires Broward County approval.

Incidents involving impacts to surface water that affect the quality of the water. Such incidents include discharges, runoff, dewatering operations, dredging, and filling of a waterway. Rainwater is the only discharge allowed into surface water. The appearance of cloudy water, called turbidity, is from suspended sediments or particles in the water and may decrease water quality. Examples of incidents to report include:

Example of turbidity

  • Construction related activities resulting in the discharge of sediments into surface water (turbidity)
  • The placement of solid waste (garbage, wood, concrete materials or any other type of non approved fill material) in waterways
  • Discolored or cloudy water

See HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DISCHARGES for information concerning the discharge of oil or chemicals into surface water.

Specific Cautions: Do not approach or confront any individual or construction site. Keep safety foremost on your mind.

Details to Note:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Any construction activities in an area, including company names if visible
  • Businesses or residents washing or dumping materials into surface water
  • A dredge or barge located in a waterway

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Discharges can reduce the water quality of surface water or groundwater, and potentially threaten our drinking water supply. Sediments clouding the water from turbidity make it difficult for fish to see and feed properly. Sediments can also damage fish gills and impair the feeding and breathing processes in aquatic insects that fish eat. In addition, sediments and particles can cover plant leaves, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching desirable aquatic plants.

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Domestic Wastewater (Sewage) Releases

The applicability of a Domestic Wastewater (sewage) release is multipart and includes:

  • Discharge of untreated wastewater (sewage) to ground, surface waters or ground water.
  • Operational problems or failure of pumping stations resulting in alarms, and subsequent overflow of the collection system.
  • Treatment plant related incidents, such as improper disposal of residuals or effluent.
  • Discharge of untreated wastewater (sewage) from live-aboard boats and on-site septic systems.

Photo of a lift station Example of a list station

Specific Cautions: In no case should persons come in contact with untreated wastewater. Only authorized personnel should evaluate the situation and take appropriate action. Avoid walking or playing in surface water after significant rain events.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including cross streets, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Any alarms or flashing lights observed

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Improper discharges of domestic wastewater (sewage) could contaminate surface and groundwater and can lead to serious health threats.

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Non-Domestic (commercial or industrial) Wastewater Discharges

The Non-Domestic Wastewater/NPDES Program is responsible for licensing all facilities with non-domestic direct discharges entering Broward County's ground and surface waters. This program also conducts special surveillance and pollution source projects designed to reduce the illicit discharge of pollutants into the County's water resources. Additionally, program staff coordinate the County's NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit with 24 municipalities, FDOT, and unincorporated Broward County. This stormwater program is designed to identify urban non-point source pollution and abate sources through Best Management Practices (BMPs). This program also develops BMPs for industries and businesses that have a high potential of releasing pollutants into the surface and ground waters.

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Fish Kills

A sudden appearance of dead fish in a lake, pond, or canal is alarming. Most fish kills, however, result from natural events, such as the sudden lowering of oxygen levels in the water known as inversion. An inversion occurs when a combination of conditions occur simultaneously. Weather patterns, water temperature, depth and quality of water, amount and type of plant growth, fish community structure, and the presence of viruses and bacteria are all necessary to trigger a fish kill. In developed areas, runoff that contains high amounts of nutrients can produce dense growths of algae. When sunlight is available, algae use nutrients and produce oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. Most of the oxygen fish use is provided by algae. However, during large rainstorms or prolonged cloudiness, low sunlight causes algae to switch from photosynthesis to respiration. Not only does this reduce oxygen production, but the algae actually consume oxygen needed by fish. When this occurs, fish may be observed gasping for breath at the water surface. Stress induced bacterial or viral infections can cause these fish to continue to die for 3-4 days after the occurrence. This is a natural phenomenon and there is nothing that can be done to prevent fish from dying.

Incidents involving a large amount of dead fish on canals or lakes resulting from spills or illegal discharges of toxic substances. This is often caused when fertilizers or pesticides are applied to adjacent lawns and rains wash the chemicals into the water body.

Specific Cautions: Do not come in contact with the dead fish or the impacted waterway.

Details to Note: From a safe distance:

  • Note the location of the incident including landmarks, block number, city, and zip code (if known)
  • Time and date the incident occurred (if known)
  • Numbers and types of fish affected
  • Other types of dead animals such as ducks or turtles
  • The presence of dead vegetation along the canal or lake banks
  • Weather conditions such as heavy rains and extreme heat conditions
  • Any discoloration of the affected waterway
  • The overabundance of algal growth in the affected waterway
  • Specific location of waterway including street address and city
  • Any suspicious activities by individuals near the waterway, i.e., dumping or discharging any liquids
  • Names on vehicles of suspicious persons and/or license plate numbers

When you call the environmental response hot line at 954-519-1499, please mention any and all of these details in your report.

Environmental Effect: Fish kills may result in a total loss of fish species and/or a disruption of the food chain within the water body.

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Drainage Systems / Flooding

The Surface Water Management Program is responsible for licensing construction/operation of surface water management (drainage) systems as required under the Broward County Code of Ordinances.  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.  A Surface water management system typically consists of a combination of 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. The Broward County Surface Water Management Program regulates construction/operation of surface water management systems in areas of the county outside of independent drainage districts.

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