Stormwater Maintenance Responsibilities
The Stormwater Utility Division maintains 5 miles of ditches / canals and 40 miles of stormwater pipes. The division cleans catch basins, storm drain pipes, and ditches. We repair or rebuild existing catch basins and pipes and adding new structures as needed.
The Stormwater Utility Division is a special purpose service unit within city government that provides stormwater management as required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
What is Stormwater Utility
In the last 50 years, our city has experienced tremendous growth. Along with this growth has come urban stormwater runoff problems, such as street flooding, as well as lake and river pollution. The City of New Port Richey has taken steps to address these problems to be in compliance with the provisions of the Clean Water Actopens in a new window and the Water Quality Act passed by the United States Congress.
Stormwater Runoff Impacts
If you live in the city during the rainy season, you are probably familiar with the problem. Our heavy rains combine with the flat terrain and limited drainage, result in flooded streets, yards, and even homes. During a storm, rain that is not absorbed by the ground (termed “stormwater runoff”) collects in yards and parking areas or flows into streets and into our city’s storm sewer system.
This system of ditches, catch basins, pipes, and ponds carries the stormwater runoff into the Pithlachascotee River or the Gulf of Mexico. With the growth of our city, impervious areas such as roof tops, parking lots, and streets have also increased. Stormwater runoff passes over our yards, parking lots, and streets picking up traces of fertilizer, pesticides, animal waste, litter, oil, gasoline, and other fluids from vehicles.
With the implementation of the stormwater utility, maintenance activities have begun immediately on the existing drainage system. The benefits include:
- Cleaner water in the Pithlachascotee River, our lakes, and the aquifer
- Improved maintenance of drainage facilities
- Less street and property flooding
Living in a coastal community such as New Port Richey has limitless benefits and advantages ranging from recreation and beauty to unique businesses and opportunity. Residing in a coastal area, however, also brings on responsibility and a higher calling to preserve the area in which we live. A key component to the environmental structure of a coastal setting in Florida is the mangroves. Red, Black, and White mangroves can be found locally and there are over 500,000 acres of mangroves in Florida. Of this total acreage, over 80 percent are under some form of government or private ownership and are set aside for preservation, conservation, and safeguarding purposes. Mangroves are special and are protected for an abundance of reasons. To start with, mangroves play a very important role as habitats for several marine species as well as mammals, birds, and reptiles. Mangroves also provide shore stabilization and are a form of storm protection. They also act as a nursery for many game and sport fisheries, maintain water quality, and are naturally beautiful. It is for these reasons that mangroves are protected and extreme caution needs to be taken when performing any kind of work or maintenance pertaining to mangroves. To begin with, no mangroves may be removed, destroyed, or defoliated. No mangroves should be trimmed below six (6) feet in height as measured from the substrate (mud) and if a mangrove exceeds ten (10) feet in height prior to trimming a Professional Mangrove Trimmer (PMT) will need to be contacted to perform the work. Also, mangroves may be trimmed without a permit if they are within a Riparian Mangrove Fringe (shoreline growth that does not extend 50 feet water ward). If they do extent beyond the 50 feet then a permit will be required for maintenance. Mangroves should only be trimmed between the months of October and March as this is the time mangroves experience the least amount of growth. Lastly, all mangrove trimmings should be removed in an environmentally responsible manner.
More information on mangroves can be found on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s website (https://floridadep.gov). More discussion on mangroves can be had by calling Barret Doe with the City of New Port Richey’s Public Works Department at (727) 841-4536. Thank you for respecting the community in which we live and for being an environmentally responsible resident of our remarkable coastal community.