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Lee County NPDES Permit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is the MS4?

The Lee County MS4 or Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, is the County stormwater conveyance system as defined in the NPDES permit.  This includes roadside swales, canals, ditches and stormwater treatment areas.  These features were  constructed for the purpose of conveying and managing stormwater.  It does not include natural or man-altered creeks (typically tidally influenced), streams, rivers or many previously natural systems that are now straight canal-like conveyances.

  • Why does Lee County have a permit for the MS4? 

As part of the Federal Clean Water Act, all municipalities with populations over 100,000 were required to apply for this permit, these are considered Phase 1 communities.  The NPDES permit is a reporting tool that DEP and EPA uses to ensure that municipalities and special districts are properly implementing stormwater management and pollution prevention programs. Municipalities and special districts may apply jointly or individually for an NPDES MS4 permit. Lee County, its cities and many special districts chose to apply jointly for the NPDES permit. Lee County and its NPDES co-permittees work collaboratively on stormwater system regulation, monitoring and reporting.

  • What are Best Management Practices (BMPs)? 

Best management practices or BMPs in reference to the NPDES program are stormwater pollution prevention activities or stormwater pollution controls. Examples of structural BMPs include silt fencing around construction sites or laying sod on sloped banks to prevent erosion, storm drain filters to catch debris during storm events and yellow floating turbidity curtains to contain turbid discharges.  Non-structural BMPs may include street-sweeping, litter control and education.

  

  • Can I get a copy of the permit?

A copy of the Lee County permit(s) is available on this web site under Permits. 

  •  Does the permit regulate water quality?

The NPDES MS4 permit does not regulate water quality directly.  It is a set of requirements put in place to promote water quality and the Clean Water Act through the implementation of stormwater pollution controls or BMPs.  In the current cycle, there are conditions placed on co-permittees having impaired waters within their jurisdictions, (having TMDLs but not having BMAPs) to work collaboratively to improve water quality.

  • What does the MS4 Permit require?

The MS4 Permit requires Lee County and co-permittees to develop and report on  elements of the permit including:

  •         Stormwater system inventory and inspection of the MS4 as well as compliance inspection of any new development or industrial site that discharges into the permitted MS4.
  •          Stormwater system maintenance records,
  •          Water quality and stormwater system compliance monitoring,
  •          Enforcement of stormwater BMP application on development and industrial sites.
  •          Public education for the purpose of keeping citizens aware of stormwater pollution impacts as well as educating the industry on the proper application of stormwater pollution controls.
  •          Discover and manage (prohibit) Illicit Discharges to the stormwater system.  This is accomplished through monitoring, proactive inspections and enforcement activities against those who discharge illicitly.  This is to control non stormwater discharges to the MS4.
  •          Inspection and Investigation of Illicit Discharges and Improper disposal.  This is to target older infrastructure, Industrial and Mixed Use areas, Areas with on-site Sewage disposal systems and areas upstream of sensitive or impaired water bodies.
  •          Verify Multi-Sector permits at industrial facilities and report those failing to obtain coverage to FDEP.
  •          Illicit Discharges or Oils, Toxics and Hazardous Waste are to be controlled via a plan with quantities reported in the annual reports.
  •          Illicit Discharges of Sanitary Wastes are to be reduced and eliminated in conjunction with the efforts of the local utilities with quantities and events reported in Annual Reports.
  •          Industrial and High Risk Facility inventory and inspections to include the outfalls with reports annually.  Enforcement action to be taken against facilities violating the appropriate protocols.  This may include the monitoring or to require results of monitoring of regulated industrial facilities.
  •          Perform inspections and recordkeeping related to construction site activities.
  •          Develop and Maintain procedures to assure develop and permit applicants for re-development acquire proper stormwater permits, including ERP and GP for Large and Small construction sites.
  •          Provide Construction Site Operator training such as the Florida Stormwater Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector’s Certification classes.  Provide training to municipal employees in the recognition and reporting of Illicit Discharges.
  •          In addition to providing the Seasonal Loadings and Event Mean Concentration Estimates as required by the permit, Lee County Monitors the ambient quality of its surface waters.  This may be seen on the Lee County Web site on the Lee County Environmental Laboratory, "Lab Data" link.