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Hernando County National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) Stormwater Program


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What's Wrong with Stormwater Runoff?

Hernando County's Stormwater Management Program

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PDF Document - Do your Part to Prevent Storwater Pollution Brochure. Part I - Do your Part to Prevent Stormwater Pollution. (PDF Document - 390 KB)

PDF Document - Do your Part to Prevent Storwater Pollution Part II Watershed Brochure. Part II - Watershed. (PDF Document -  988 KB)

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In 1990, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established regulations (called NPDES) requiring large and medium-sized municipalities to get operating permits for their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4). These "Phase I" rules also required stormwater permits for a specified list of industries, and for construction sites that were five acres or larger in size. Before 1990, EPA regulations only required permits for specific pollutant discharge, such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial process wastes.

In 1997, EPA began requiring permits for smaller municipalities (including Hernando County). These "Phase II" requirements are much less cumbersome than those given to the Phase I counties and cities. In addition"Phase II changed the threshold for construction sites from five acres to one acre or larger and delegated the NPDES program to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

The NPDES Phase II permit is different from typical EPA permits because, instead of telling counties and cities all the things they must do, permittees are given six Minimum Control Measures, and allowed to select their own Best Management Practices (BMP's) and Measurable Goals for attaining those Minimum Measures. The County's permit was written to minimize the need for new staff and new activities. However, some new training and tasks were unavoidable. Nearly all departments in Hernando County are participating in the implementation of the County's NPDES Phase II permit.

Many of the permit program measures involve educating citizens, builders, businesses and county staff about ways they can prevent stormwater pollution at home and at work. Other measures involve specific activities the County is responsible for, such as construction inspections, identifying and mapping the stormwater system, investigating complaints of water pollution, recycling, working out BMPs at County facilities, etc.


The Six Minimum Measures Are:

  • Public Education and Outreach: To let people know about the harmful effects of polluted stormwater runoff.
  • Public Participation/Involvement: To comply with public notices requirements and encourage citizen involvement.
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination: To implement a plan to detect and eliminate any non-stormwater discharges to the MS4 and create a map of the sewer system showing outfall locations.
  • Construction Site Runoff Control: To implement and enforce an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities. 
  • Post-construction Runoff Control: To implement and enforce a program that deals with discharges of stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment areas after construction. (NOTE: This minimum control measure is met by the State Water Management Districts, stormwater permitting program, so  Hernando County doesn't have to do anything else for this measure.)
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping: To implement a program to reduce pollutant runoff from government property and operations, and train staff about pollution prevention.

Status of Hernando County Phase II Permit

Apply for the Permit
In June 2003, the FDEP approved Hernando County's permit application, and it's permit coverage became effective for five years. All cities and counties identified as "Phase II MS4 operators" were required to get coverage under NPDES general permit (called a "generic " permit in Florida). In Florida, applicants were required to submit to FDEP a Notice of Intent (NOI) to use the Generic Permit for Stormwater Discharge from Pahse II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. In their NOI's, applicants had to describe BMP's they've selected to meet the six Minimum Measures.

Implement the Permit
The rules don't require all those BMP's to be effective immediately when the coverage is issued. Each permittee can spend the first five year permit term developing and implementing the various BMPs for their Stormwater Management Programs (SWMP). But they are required to submit an annual report to FDEP for each of the first five years, describing the progress they've made in implementing their SWMPs.

Year 3 Status
Hernando County is currently in Year 3 of its' permit term and is in compliance with all aspects of its NPDES permit.

By June 2006, the permit requires ordinances to take effect that protect the MS4 from pollution along with a program to enforce the ordinances. BMPs for County facilities should also go into effect . And a digital map charting the MS4 endpoints should be completed.


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