Public Works Director Scharmen reports that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), through regulations adopted in 1990 under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), required large, medium and small municipalities (including Indian Rocks Beach) to obtain permits for the operation and maintenance of their storm sewer systems where those systems discharge stormwater to the waters of the United States.

The regulations required municipalities to demonstrate adequate legal authority to prohibit illicit discharges to our storm sewer systems, provide maps of our storm sewers and outfalls, provide monitoring data showing the quality of runoff from local areas of various land use types, propose a management program that includes control measures to reduce pollutants in runoff, provide a program to detect and remove illicit discharges to our system, provide a program for monitoring compliance and the success of our programs, and provide an accounting of our fiscal resources available for carrying out this program.

In April of 1994, The City of Indian Rocks Beach participated along with other cities in Pinellas County in jointly applying for our N.P.D.E.S. permit through Pinellas County. The Cities, FDOT, and Pinellas County desire to continue to protect and promote the public health, safety and general welfare through the management of stormwater runoff, and to continue the existing relationships and responsibilities for control of discharge to municipal storm sewer systems (MS4) as outlined in 40 C.F.R., Section 122.26.

The City of Indian Rocks Beach made a conscious decision, rather than creating new jobs to track and investigate illicit discharges to our storm sewer system, to utilize existing staff to carry this out as part of their normal work. This is where you, as a resident can help.


All construction sites must be properly contained to avoid runoff.

This means that appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) should be used to protect the perimeter of the site, and any drainage or water body that could potentially be impacted. Here are some examples:

  • Silt fencing (reinforced with chicken wire if needed), floating turbidity barriers
  • Rock bags, filter fabric, filter socks for drains and inlets
  • Hydroseed, sod to stabilize exposed areas
  • Dewatering bags, flocking materials
  • Gravel entrances to keep from tracking dirt out onto the roads

State Construction permits must be obtained for all sites larger than one acre.

View details on state construction permits here.

Agrochemicals Management

Pesticide / Herbicide / Fertilizer Management

Public Works Director Scharmen reports that in maintaining home landscape, residents often do not realize the implications of their maintenance practices on the environment. Misuse of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers can have a disastrous effect on groundwater resulting in contamination or run-offs into water supplies.

Pest problems in the lawn can be minimized by good cultural practices such as minimal fertilizing of your lawn; watering your lawn only when it shows signs of stress; keeping the blades on your lawn mower sharp and cutting only about one inch of the grass blade at any one cutting.

If spraying pesticides is necessary, it should be done when the least amount of damage will occur to plants and the natural predators of pests – early morning or late in the evening.

Disposal of pesticides/herbicides must be done properly and safely. The City of Indian Rocks Beach Public Works Department – Solid Waste Division asks that you do not place these items in your garbage. Please contact the Pinellas County Household Chemical Collection Center at 727-464-7565 where these products can be disposed of safely.



Why are we inspecting for illicit discharges?
The City of Indian Rocks beach is basically responsible to ensure that our stormwater discharges do not pollute the waters of the United States. To do this, we have to be able to keep pollutants from being put into our storm sewers. The regulations required that we adopt an ordinance to prohibit illicit discharges. In May 1994, the City of Indian Rocks Beach enacted Ordinance 545 specifically dealing with Stormwater Sewers. Any discharge to the City’s storm sewer system not in compliance with that ordinance is considered an illicit discharge.
Who will do the inspecting and investigating?
The EPA regulations required that we submit our proposed program for managing our storm sewer system. This program was to include our procedures to be followed to locate and investigate potential illicit discharges and to enforce our ordinance. As mentioned above, we made a decision to utilize existing staff to keep an eye out for illicit discharges while they are in the field conducting their normal work. However, the City has far too many streets and storm drain inlets for our employees to be in all places at one time. That is why we are asking for your assistance in notifying us when there is a possible illicit discharge suspected. Once a potential problem has been reported, City staff will conduct an investigation and make an informed determination of what to do next.
Should you collect samples or other physical evidence?
By all means, you should not try and collect samples. In the first place, there is some possibility that an illicit discharge may be toxic or otherwise hazardous. The City of Indian Rocks Beach does not want residents taking risks with their health. In the second place, there is an art to taking evidence that will hold up in court, and people trained to collect samples for evidence should do the sampling. If you attempt to do it, you might end up contaminating either the samples or the site. If you see an illicit discharge, report the problem and let trained people take it from there.
What should I do if I find a suspected discharge?
You should report it to the City of Indian Rocks Beach Public Works Department at 727-595-6889 or the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at 727-582-6200. They will then decide whether to report it further, and to whom. They will also decide, based on your observation, whether it is an emergency that needs to be stopped right away.
How soon do I need to report it?
The best thing is to report it right away, especially if it appears to be still in progress. That way if it is something that needs to be stopped right away, someone can get to it before it is too late.
What is an illicit discharge? – How do I recognize one?
Deliberatgly dumping illicit discahrges
  • This kind of discharge is sporadic; often occurring at night or on weekends, when the person involved thinks nobody is looking.
  • This kind of discharge is not predictable, and as a result is hard to sample for gathering evidence.
  • This kind of discharge could be toxic since it is often done by businesses trying to get rid of waste without having to do it properly. As a result, you really need to avoid coming in contact with it, or even breathing fumes if it is volatile.
  • Often we need to make a quick decision to respond to this kind of event. If you see it actually occurring, it needs to be reported immediately so proper action can be taken. Later, after it has already happened, it may be too late; the damage may have already been done.
It is likely you will not observe this directly, because the people doing it purposely try to do it when they will not be seen. This is not always the case, however; some people just do not realize that the storm sewer carries water to lakes and the bay – they think it goes to the treatment plant. Dumping may not consist of a person emptying a bucket or a drum of waste. It might be a tank truck draining its contents through a hose into a manhole. Sometimes this is legal, septic tank cleaning people may have a permit allowing them to discharge to the sanitary sewer system through a manhole.
If I see deliberate dumping should I tell them to stop?
People deliberately dumping are breaking the law, and sometimes they know it but do it anyway. You should not take chances by confronting people like this. Report it to the identified contact immediately, and if it needs to be stopped, a Sheriff’s Deputy or other law enforcement officer can take steps to stop it.
What are legal discharges?
Some discharges are not considered illegal under the City of Indian Rocks Beach’s Ordinance. These include:
  • Flows from firefighting
  • Landscape irrigation and lawn watering
  • Irrigation water
  • Diverted stream flows
  • Rising ground waters
  • Water line flushing and other contributions from potable water sources
  • Uncontaminated pumped groundwater
  • Foundation and footing drains
  • Water from crawl space pumps
  • Uncontaminated air conditioning condensation
  • Individual residential car washings
  • Springs
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
  • Swimming pools direct infiltration of ground water to the separate storm sewer system
Note: not all of these are considered good practices. It is not a good idea to backwash your swimming pool filter directly into the storm sewer; the chlorine that you put into your pool to kill bacteria will also kill aquatic life. If you wash your car, it is a good idea to do it over your lawn, so the soapy water can be absorbed by the lawn and not run down the street and into the storm sewer system. These activities, while not all good things to do, are exempt from the City of Indian Rocks Beach ordinance, unless we are able to show that such a discharge is really causing significant harm to water quality or aquatic life. It simply was not the intent of the City of Indian Rocks Beach to use the ordinance to try to make people stop washing their cars, etc. The ordinance was intended to deal with large-scale polluters and people committing illicit discharges to the storm sewer system.
What kinds of things should you report?
Location – What you observed – Any identifying marks – Photographs Through a concerted effort by City staff and residents alike this program will assist in the improvement of water quality and to preserve and enhance the environmental quality of receiving waters of the United States. The City of Indian Rocks Beach appreciates everyone’s efforts in this most important issue.