City of Vero Beach

"Where the Tropics Begin"

Stormwater and Drainage Division

The mission of the Stormwater and Drainage Division is to build, maintain and improve storm sewers, drainage ditches, drainage swales and drainage structures, and to provide construction services for city’s sidewalk improvement and repair program.
Protecting Water Quality through Stormwater Education
Stormwater pollution comes from many sources, and its control is everyone’s responsibility.  The following is a general outline and guide to ways that you can reduce stormwater impact on our water quality.  For more information, or to report storm drain pollution, please contact the City of Vero Beach Public Works and Engineering Department, 1053 20th Place, P.O. Box 1389, Vero Beach, Florida 32961, (772) 978-4869, or at pweng@covb.org.
Stormwater – We live with it but what is it really?

What is stormwater runoff?  It is rain that that flows off of our streets, rooftops and lawns.  The flowing water carries sand, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, leaves, grass clippings, oil, litter and other pollutants into our river.
In towns, storm sewers are used to carry the large amounts of runoff from homes and parking areas.  Stormwater is not clean and usually receives no treatment, so whatever runs off lawns, streets and parking lots flows directly into our river.
Stormwater carries a variety of pollutants that can cause serious harm to our river.  Some examples of these are:
  • Sediment – soil particles that make the water cloudy and when the particles settle out they can cause blockages in the waterways.
  • Phosphorus – this nutrient, often attached to soil particles, fuels the growth of algae and aquatic weeks.  These plants are important to fish and wildlife unless they grow too rapidly, causing the water quality to degrade and weeds to grow too thick that fish cannot move in them.
  • Toxic chemicals – motor oil, lead from gasoline, zinc from roof drains and tires, along with pesticides in stormwater runoff may kill aquatic organisms or harm their growth.
Each of us contributes to stormwater pollution and each of us can help stop it.  Here are a few ways to make a difference:
Keep pesticides, oil, leaves and other pollutants off streets and out of storm drains.
Divert roof water runoff to lawns or garden areas where it can safely soak in.
Pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste in the toilet or trash.
Keep cars tuned up and repair leaks – or better yet, walk or bike to your destination whenever possible. 
As water flows over land, it collects soil, pet wastes, fertilizers, oils and other pollutants.  Even if your house is not near a stream or river, the runoff will flow down the street into a ditch or storm drain that eventually empties into a stream or lake, taking soil and pollutants along with it.

By making wise decisions in your yard about lawn care and chemical disposal, you can protect our water quality.  Better water quality means protected sources of drinking water and a safe environment for you and your family.
Automotive Care and Maintenance
Mechanical Maintenance
Fluid spills and improper disposal of materials result in pollutants entering streams and lakes.  Here are some ideas to protect our waterways during vehicle maintenance.
  • Drip pans and draining boards should be used to capture solvents and oils for proper disposal.
  • Use as little water as possible to clean spills, leaks and drips by using rags and dry absorbent material such as kitty litter.
  • Promptly take all fluids and batteries to the proper facility for disposal.
  • Do not pour waste onto the ground or into storm drains.
When cars are washed in driveways and parking lots, the dirty wash water finds it’s way into the drainage system and ultimately into streams and lakes.  Wash water contains pollutants such as: oils and grease, phosphates (from the soap), and heavy metals, all of which have negative effects on water quality.
Wash your car in the grass.  The ash water will be treated by the soil, and the grass will benefit from the water.
An alternative is to wash your car at a commercial car wash.  There, the dirty wash water enters the sanitary sewer system where it is treated before being released back into the stream.
Pick Up After Your Pets
Animal waste contributes harmful bacteria to local waters.  These bacteria can pose health risks to humans and other animals, and result in the spread of disease.
When going for dog walks, take a few small bags and one large zip-lock bag.  When doggie makes a deposit, turn a baggie inside out over your hand and use like a glove to pick up the waste.  Transfer it to the larger bag and drop it in the trash when you get home.
Another option is to bring a “poop-scoop” and plastic bags along and deposit waste in public garbage cans along the way.
Watershed Facts
  • 16 times more Stormwater runoff is produced by a one-acre parking lot compared to a one-acre meadow. 
  • A single quart of motor oil dumped down a storm sewer creates a two-acre oil slick.
  • 70 million pounds of active pesticide ingredients are applied to lawns in our country each year.
  • On average, 10 pounds of nitrogen are discharged to ground water from a properly operating septic system per person using the system each year.
  • Three billion fecal coliform bacteria are produced by an average sized dog dropping. 
  • Over one million acres of land are converted to urban use in the US each year. 
  • 27,200 gallons of water fall on a one-acre yard during a one-inch rainfall. 
  • Recent research has discovered that urban stream quality begins to sharply decline once impervious cover in a watershed, such as streets, driveways, sidewalks and rooftops, exceeds 10%.

Remember, for more information, or to report storm drain pollution, please contact the:
City of Vero Beach Public Works and Engineering Department,
1053 20th Place, P.O. Box 1389,
Vero Beach, Florida 32961
(772) 978-4870,
or at pweng@covb.org