Stormwater Department
1600 Minutemen Causeway
P.O. Box 322430
Cocoa Beach, FL 32932-2430

Phone: (321) 868-3292
FAX: (321) 868-3379
stormwater@cityofcocoabeach.com

Stormwater management is an important responsibility of local government. Stormwater is the result of precipitation, which we all know can range from a passing light drizzle to periodic heavy downpours to extended heavy rains caused by tropical storms. As properties are developed or redeveloped, changes in the surface of land have an impact on how the land area is able to handle precipitation, the flows and direction of stormwater, the effect on adjacent properties and the ultimate destination of the flows. Stormwater that pools on roadways can be a hazard to motorists as well as adversely affecting the flow of vehicular traffic.

In addition to the effect on individual properties and public roadways, stormwater has ecological impacts. On the barrier island, much of the runoff ends up in the Banana River, which is part of the ecologically sensitive Indian River Lagoon. The runoff into the lagoon carries various forms of pollutants that can have an impact on the water quality of the lagoon. This, in turn, affects marine life so important to what makes Florida unique. As a result, the State and Federal governments impose various requirements and restrictions on local government to mitigate the adverse impacts of stormwater.  


The Functions of Stormwater Department

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Improve & maintain water quality through effective stormwater management strategies.
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Maintain a high level of flood protection through sound planning & service. Maintain infrastructure integrity to protect public safety and private property.
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Provide a high level of customer service & communication to the public and private sectors.

The City's Stormwater System

The Stormwater Utility staff includes 4 full-time employees. Questions, problems or general information can be addressed the Stormwater Program Coordinator at (321) 868-3292. Scheduling and field operations issues can be directed to the Stormwater Supervisor at (321) 868-3342.

Our Stormwater crew performs all the replacement and slip-lining of stormwater piping, stormdrain maintenance & repair and dredging of canals. 


Stormwater Fees

The Utility Fee is defined in the City's Code of Ordinances. The fee is different depending upon whether you are commercial, multifamily residential or single family residential.

The monthly fee formula is as follows: 

Single-family Residential flat rate

$6.00 (average home)

Multifamily Residential

$3.00 per # of units in dwelling

Commercial

Impervious Area* 2900 square feet x $6.00

*impervious area does not absorb runoff (asphalt, concrete, buildings)

Single-family and condominium-residential dwellings contribute 69% of the total Stormwater Utility fee revenue or about $169,660. Commercial properties contribute 31% of the total Stormwater Utility fee revenue or about $85,074. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

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How can I help reduce the pollutants in storm runoff?
Several easy practices can be incorporated into your lifestyle: 
  • Find your roof drains and route the water away from your driveway towards a grassy part of your yard.

  • Fertilize with low nitrogen mixes and don't apply it before the rains - most of it will runoff & not improve your grass.

  • Spray pesticides infrequently, not before rains and try an "eco-friendly" substitute - ask your local nursery or call the Brevard County Extension office for recommendations.

  • Wash your car in the grass, not in your driveway - soap will help your lawn but hurt your canal.

  • Put your cigarettes in the ashtray if you smoke. Cigarettes can clog the digestive and respiratory systems of birds and aquatic life, and contain a high concentration of nitrogen.

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  • How do I report a pollutant discharge violation?
    Click on: P2 Hotline or call 868-3302.

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    Am I in a flood zone?
    Here in Cocoa Beach we have 2 flood zones - "within the 100-year flood zone" & "outside the 100-year flood zone". These flood zones are based on elevation, water table elevation, soils and historical flooding information. On the barrier island, storm surge is most likely source of our flood hazards. The flood hazard lines are established by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and can be found on the FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) maps. The FIRM maps of our area can be found at the City's Building and Stormwater Utility departments and are also on file at all libraries.
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    How is storm runoff treated?
    Throughout the 80+ years of development in Cocoa Beach, there has been no treatment of the storm runoff. All of the runoff from our buildings, parking lots & roads was designed to drain to our canals or straight to the lagoon. The huge construction boom of the '60's (Apollo program) sent great loads of sediment and other pollutants draining to the canals. Another boom in the '70's (shuttle program) heavily polluted our canals again. Early in the '70's legislation was passed that helped reduce this pollution. Still today, most of the runoff from Cocoa Beach is heavily polluted and drains directly to our waters. We are now in the process of turning the tide. We will try to re-route the water back into the soil where feasible. We will construct filtering devices to clean the stormwater in areas where re-routing or retention is not possible.
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    What are the laws regulating the discharge of stormwater?
    Stormwater is the greatest threat to our nation's waters. Only recently has strong regulation been passed that reduces runoff pollution to our drinking, recreational & fishery waters. The Clean Water Act helped reduce industrial and wastewater discharges but did little to address the widespread pollutant loading from our storms. In the '70's, St. Johns River Water Management District began requiring private development to retain a portion of their stormwater on-site. This regulation (FAC 40C-42) greatly helped reduce runoff from private properties. Now the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is passing legislation that will enforce strict stormwater regulation on cities and counties. By the beginning of the 2nd millennium, cities and counties across the nation will be greatly reducing the pollutants from stormwater. This legislation called NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program) will greatly improve our waters.
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    How much runoff can there possibly be from Cocoa Beach?
    This is a simple mathematical equation if we multiply the rainfall over all of the area where rain can't soak in. If we conservatively assume that only 40% of the rain does not percolate into the ground - turns into runoff - then a 1-inch rainfall will translate into 20 million gallons of runoff flowing into our canals & lagoon.
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    Can we ever stop ALL the runoff into our waters?
    Considering the residential and commercial development in Cocoa Beach, we probably cannot stop all of the runoff into our canals. Where we have room - we can significantly reduce the volume by creating swales for runoff retention. As we redevelop, we can make private development retain a portion of their runoff. In spots where we have little room for retention, we can at least reduce the amount of dirt, leaves, grass clippings and debris in the runoff by constructing various kinds of "filters".
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    Why is dredging considered a stormwater activity?
    In the past, dredging was primarily for creating canals or opening navigable channels back up. Dredging had a bad reputation environmentally because of the impact it had on habitat. Recently, dredging has been considered a stormwater BMP (best management practice) because of its ability to improve water quality by removing nuisance muck sediment. Muck sediment is very light and is easily stirred up into the water column. Once in the water column, it does not settle easily and makes the water "turbid" or unclear. Unclear water doesn't allow sunlight through and so seagrass can't grow. Seagrass is considered the primary production resource in the Indian River Lagoon system and all other lagoon habitat depends on it. Most important is to reduce the muck by reducing pollution to the canals. Even after we have reduced most of our upstream loading, we will still have to dredge the nuisance muck in order to have cleaner water.
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    What is Muck?
    Although muck has different scientific meanings, stormwater muck is fine sediments washed into our waters by storm runoff. They are a mixture of sand, silt, leaves & grass clippings with a fair amount of settled algae from algae blooms. They may contain heavy metals & organic pollutants depending on their source. Algae blooms occur from nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen (grass clippings, leaves, fertilizers & soaps) washing into the canals. Once the algae has "bloomed", it quickly dies and settles to the bottom as muck. Just think what your pool would look like if your neighborhood drained into it!
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    What are those openings in the curb along roads?
    Those curbs are called stormdrains & their function is to remove the storm runoff from the roadway. Those "mouths" in the curb lead to pipes that run directly to the nearest canal or lagoon. The good news is they keep the roads & private property from flooding. The bad news is, although convenient, it destroys the quality of our waters & the habitat that it supports. Storm runoff is the greatest threat to our national waters' health. Keep our curbs clean!
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    Are any more manatees going to be stuck in drainage pipes?
    For those of you that don't know, Cocoa Beach has had a few instances lately in which manatees have swum into our stormlines. Once in the lines, they were unable to turn around to return to the lagoon. In each case, they were rescued and recovered at Sea World. We're really not sure why this occurred, but we believe it had a lot to do with the high water level experienced during those El Nino years. Nevertheless, to ensure that this situation never occurs again, we have constructed "Manatee Proof Gates" in front of our outfalls so that our mammalian explorers will no longer risk their lives pipe-diving. These gates are made of marine grade pilings and are formed in a semi-circle around the outfall so that flow is not obstructed. Large debris in high runoff flow can cause blockages & cause flood risks upstream. These gates were designed to minimize this threat & have low maintenance requirements for long-lasting quality.

    Visitors since July 1, 2003