The Polk County Natural Resources Water Resources Section is responsible for administering county's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. The county has 18 co-permittees (16 municipalities, the Department of Transportation FDOT), and the FDOT Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise). Each co-permittee is responsible for administering the MS4 permit within their jurisdiction, including preparing and submitting an Annual Report summarizing MS4 compliance activities for the year.
The county's MS4 permit is regulated by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) a federal program required by the Clean Water Act. Each regulated MS4 is required to develop and implement a stormwater management program (SWMP) to reduce the contamination of stormwater runoff and prohibit illicit discharges. The county's MS4 permit is provided below.
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 62-624 (FAC 62-624) contains the State of Florida's regulations regarding MS4s. Detailed information from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the MS4 permitting program, may be found here. Polk County operates a "Phase I" MS4; i.e., it serves a population of greater than 100,000 and includes industrial runoff and runoff from construction sites of five acres or more.
Annual MS4 reports for Polk County may be found in the Annual Reports section. These annual reports provide information about activities undertaken during the prior year to comply with federal and state stormwater rules, and identify the department and/or person responsible for performing each activity.
As required by its MS4 permit, Polk County has developed a set of written plans, or "Standard Operating Procedures" (SOPs), to ensure that it adheres to NPDES rules in their day-to-day operations. These cover activities such as land-use permitting, construction site and industrial facility inspections, street sweeping, stormwater infrastructure maintenance, pesticide and herbicide application, municipal waste handling, spill prevention, litter control, and public education. This document contains all county MS4 SOPs and provides guidance for conducting a separate activity or related group of activities in accordance with NPDES regulations.