The City of Lakeland is required to develop and implement a storm water management program by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
Lakeland is actively working towards implementing a storm water program to reduce the discharges of pollutants from the city for the protection of our water quality. It is important for the Lakeland community to understand and participate in our efforts of making Lakeland environmentally friendly and efficient.
Why Does Stormwater Matter?
Everything that you see, and a lot that you can’t see laying in the gutters or on the street is carried into the storm drains by rain or melting snow. Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
Sediment can cloud the water, inhibiting growth of aquatic plants and animals, and destroying the habitat.
Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming and fishing areas, and create health hazards.
Litter - plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts - washed into waterbodies reduces our water quality and can harm aquatic animals.
Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other chemical fluids can poins aquatic life. People can become sick and die from ingestion of diseased fish or polluted water.
Polluted water affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
Lakeland’s Stream Impairment Discussion
Lakeland has elected to focus on three areas of impairment issues that affect water quality:
It is any manufactured or processed solid waste that enters the aquatic environment from any source. In short, it is our misplaced waste and trash. It is a highly pervasive and visible form of pollution that has harmful impacts on wildlife and human health.
Pet or Animal Waste (Esherichia Coliform)
When pet waste is left on the ground or disposed of improperly, water quality and your health is at risk. Esherichia coliform (also known as E. Coli), bacteria found in the feces of warm-blooded animals, is an identifiable water quality impairment in Lakeland’s streams.
Erosion & Sediment Control
When excessive amounts of sediment and debris are carried into the stormwater system, it can be harmful to Lakelands’ aquatic habitats and drinking water sources. Lakeland has implemented erosion control regulations for construction and is working to educate residents on how they affect erosion.
Stormwater Management Plan
Lakeland has developed a storm water management plan (SWMP) that addresses six minimum control measures outlined in the EPA and State regulations. Each control measure must provide measurable objectives and milestones to satisfy the goals. The measurable objectives assures that the City develops, implements, and enforces a program that reduces the discharge of pollutants from the storm drain system to the maximum extent practicable.
The purpose of these six minimum control measures are to reduce the pollutants listed in the above impairments and to improve water quality inside Lakeland. The three areas discussed above are addressed within each of the six programmatic components set by the NPDES, which are:
- Public Education and Outreach on Storm Water Impacts
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
- Post-construction Storm Water Management in New Development and Re-development
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
These six items will be discussed in further detail as it relates to litter, pet waste, and erosion control, as well as how the Storm Water Management Team is addressing each category.
Lakeland’s Rivers & Lakes
Lakeland is known for its beautiful landscape and aquatic environment. After all, we are known as the Lake City! Therefore, it is especially important that each resident in our community understands the impact each has on the quality of our rivers and lakes, namely Scotts Creek, Garner Lake, and Oliver Creek.
Lakeland has several watersheds (also known as drainage basins) that pass through and are part of of our community. Clear Creek/Cypress Creek, the Rocky Branch Watershed, the Scotts Creek Watershed, and the Oliver Creek Watershed all drain into the Loosahatchie River. The Grays Creek Watershed and the Fletcher Creek Watershed drain into the Wolf River
Lakeland focuses on watersheds that are directly impacted by litter, pet/animal waste, and erosion issues. Please take time to learn more about each river and lake, which one you directly impact depending on where you live, and tips on helping to improve the water quality of each aquatic habitat.
For information about Lakeland’s Watersheds view the Lakeland’s Watersheds page.