Utilities - Stormwater


The Stormwater Division provides maintenance and construction of the drainage facilities throughout the city. Street sweeping is included in this department to insure the reduction or elimination of dirt or leaves that enter the drainage system. Leaves and grass create organics that create algae blooms in out lakes and are not aesthetically pleasant to view and are bad for the aquatic life.  

Drainage facilities are man-made structures designed to collect, divert or discharge stormwater such as ditches, culverts, and retention ponds.  This Division routinely cleans the ditches and culverts and mows the retention ponds to ensure that the city's stormwater management functions properly. The department is presently working throughout the City to reduce or eliminate flooding areas. A Stormwater Master Plan has been developed for the CRA area to reduce or eliminate flooding and TMDL’s in this area. The proposed cost to make the necessary repairs is estimated at $10M and funding is still being pursued.

Tavares Stormwater Management Program

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires operators of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program to minimize the discharge of contaminates into surface waters.  The Separate Storm Sewer is a system of underground pipes and surface drainage that carry rainwater away from roads and parking lots.  Ultimately this drainage reaches our lakes and rivers.

Common pollutants include the following:
  • automotive fluids that leak from our vehicles onto roads, parking lots and driveways
  • pesticides used to keep lawns green
  • sediments from construction sites
  • household trash and chemicals not properly disposed of
  • animal waste
Tavares residents can have an enormous impact on the quality of rivers and streams by:
  • keeping vehicles maintained
  • closely following application rates for pesticides and fertilizers
  • properly disposing of household wastes and recyclables
  • watching for unusual discharges from storm drainage swales and piping during dry weather conditions

Learn More

Want to learn more about stormwater systems in your neighborhood?  View the Neighborhood Guide to Stormwater Systems.

Illicit Discharge

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge into a storm drain system that is not composed entirely of stormwater. Exceptions include water from firefighting activities and allowable discharges from facilities that are covered by an NPDES permit. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike municipal wastewater which flows to a treatment plant, stormwater generally flows to waterways without any additional treatment.

​Illicit discharges often include pathogens, nutrients, surfactants, organic chemicals, and various toxic pollutants. They may be caused when a sewage disposal system interacts with the storm drain system, or when there are inadvertent or deliberate cross connections between industrial or commercial drains and the stormwater system. They may also occur when individuals dump contaminated liquids into storm drains, or when outdoor activities like pressure washing or radiator flushing cause polluted water to flow into the stormwater system or directly into a water body. Landscape irrigation can also produce intermittent illicit discharges if over-watering or misdirected sprinklers send water over impervious areas, producing unacceptable loads of nutrients, organic matter or pesticides.