Storm Water Education
The City of Punta Gorda is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. With this growth comes an added burden on our water supply and recreational waterways. Punta Gorda citizens must do their part to ensure that our area's growth does not harm our precious, yet easily broken environment.
A major contributor to contamination of our waterways is polluted storm water. Storm water is rain that has fallen and then flows across the ground and pavement. Some of this rainwater flows into ditches and storm sewers and then flows directly into streams, rivers, bays and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.
As the storm water flows across pavement, lawns and fields, it picks up pollution (fertilizers, solvents, pesticides, auto fluids) and carries them directly into our waterways. Once there, these pollutants can have very harmful effects.
When polluted storm water reaches our waterways, it has many long-lasting, negative effects on aquatic plant and animal life. This pollution also impacts other wildlife that use the water or consume the contaminated seafood, this includes humans.
Some of the potential negative effects are:
- Sediment and other debris clog fish gills, damage fish habitat and block light needed for aquatic plants, such as seagrass beds, to survive.
- Plastic and other types of debris may be storm water-transported into waterways and can harm marine life.
- Shellfish become contaminated and inedible.
If we do not effectively control this contamination, one of our most valuable resources - our recreational waterways - may be irrevocably damaged or lost. Please remember, ditches and storm drains are not connected to the sanitary sewer system. They flow directly into streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, bays and the Gulf of Mexico with little or no pre-discharge treatment. This means that storm water is not sanitized or decontaminated before it flows into our waterways.
Whatever you put into ditches, street drains and even onto your lawn flows immediately into our recreational waters whenever there is a significant rain. We must all assume accountability for keeping pollutants out of our waters.
Be Part Of The Solution... Don't Pollute
There are many seemingly harmless household activities that actually wreak havoc with our water system. You can help by implementing your own "Best Management Practices" (BMP's) around house. BMP's are a general term applicable to any means, practice or technique that aims to significantly reduce or eliminate storm water pollution.
Here are a few practices to watch out for that can cause serious problems to our waterways:
- Overuse of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides is a major cause of storm water pollution. Remember that what you put on your lawn may eventually find its way into our area canals, creeks, river and harbor.
- Improper disposal of automotive fluids such as motor oil, antifreeze, transmission and brake fluid. Don't let them drain onto your driveway or lawn, make sure they are contained and dispose of them properly.
- Dumping collected grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste into ditches, canals or other storm drains. Your garbage hauler will collect those on the proper collection day.
- Draining swimming pools into ditches, canals or directly onto lawns.
- Draining household wastewater from washing machines, dishwashers or water softening devices into ditches or canals.
Solid Waste, Yardwaste & Recycling Information for City Residents & Businesses
The City of Punta Gorda's Solid Waste Division has compiled information we hope you will find helpful regarding your single family, multi-family and commercial solid waste, yard waste and recycling services. We are making every effort to accommodate our residents and comply with all state and federal regulations. We ask that you help protect the health and safety of our employees by following these standards when preparing your waste for collection.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES MUST CONTACT THE CITY TO SET UP THEIR COLLECTION SERVICES. COLLECTIONS ARE AUTOMATIC FOR RESIDENTS, BUT MUST BE SET UP INDIVIDUALLY FOR COMMERCIAL ACCOUNTS.
Also included is information regarding household hazardous waste collection programs sponsored by Charlotte County for all City and County residents. We hope you will participate in these programs. Commercial hazardous waste is not accepted at these collections, but we hope you will encourage your employees to participate in these programs.
If you have any questions regarding any of these services, please call:
City Of Punta Gorda Public Works Office 941-575-5050
Charlotte County Household Hazardous Waste 941-764-4380
Residential and Commercial Refuse Guidelines for Can Service
- Residential household garbage must be placed at the curb.
- Trash shall not be out to the curb any earlier than 24 hours before the day of collection, but must be placed at the curb by 6 a.m. to guarantee collection. Late put outs will not be collected until the customer's next regularly scheduled collection day.
- Containers shall not exceed 32 gallons in size or 35 pounds in weight, constructed of either metal or plastic with sturdy handles and lids. Cardboard boxes may not be suitable for use as a container.
- Refuse must also be bagged inside the can to prevent any litter caused by wind conditions, and any leakage from wet garbage. Plastic bags should be of sufficient strength to withstand load stress. (Please use care when disposing of broken glass.).
- Construction and building material will not be collected by City crews. Arrangements for the disposal of this material should be arranged by either the homeowner or the contractor performing the work.
- Please keep any toys, bikes and grills away from your trash to avoid any collection mistakes.
- Please remember to keep your dogs leashed. Employees are instructed not to approach dogs that may present a risk.
Multi-Family Complex or Commercial Business Dumpster Service
- Dumpster lids shall remain closed except when it is necessary to open lids to deposit garbage or trash.
- The condition of dumpsters, cans and trash enclosures are the responsibility of the customer. If your business uses a trash enclosure, please be sure that no items are placed in the enclosure that may interfere with the servicing of your containers.
- Please do not place furniture or other oversized materials in the dumpster. For collection of these types of items, call the Public Works office to arrange a pickup.
- For complexes or businesses using dumpsters, please note that garbage or trash shall not extend above the edges of the dumpster. No garbage or trash shall be left outside except in the dumpster. If you cannot place all of your refuse in your existing dumpster(s) or containers, please contact our office to schedule additional weekly service.
- Palm fronds, limbs, etc., shall not exceed 4" in diameter or 4' in length, and must be bundled.
- Shrubbery, grass clippings, leaves and loose materials must be placed at the curb in containers marked by yardwaste labels facing the street, with a limit of 3 cans per week. Do not place yardwaste in the roadway. Yardwaste labels may be obtained at the Public Works Department, currently located at 3130 Cooper Street. You may also call the Public Works offices at 575-5050 and we will gladly mail them to you.
- Can size shall not exceed 32 gallons in size or 35 pounds in weight and should have tight fitting lids. Yard waste may not be placed in plastic bags. Please use care when disposing of sharp or thorny yard trimmings.
- Dumpsters may be designated for the use of yardwaste if the multi-family complex or business customer chooses to do so.
- Whole tree removal is not part of your regular service. For this service, you need to contact a tree removal company. Residents who use commercial lawn services, are encouraged to request the lawn service to prepare the yardwaste properly for collection.
- To schedule collection of large piles of yard waste, branches or stumps, please contact the Public Works office at 575-5050. There may be a charge for excessive amounts of yard waste materials. Also, residents who request a special pickup to avoid properly preparing the yardwaste for collection may be charged. These collections are usually scheduled for Tuesdays, and Wednesday, if needed.
All homes within the City of Punta Gorda receive curbside recycling service from Waste Management. Pickups are usually conducted on one of the resident's trash days. However, this may not always be possible and it may be collected on another weekday. Please see our recycling brochure for further information. You may pick up one of these brochures from the Public Works office at 3130 Cooper St., or call the offices at 575-5050 to have a brochure mailed to you. Due to various factors at multi-family complexes, units will utilize the most efficient method of handling the materials, as determined by Waste Management.
Businesses within the City of Punta Gorda may contact Waste Management to contract containers for recycling services. Also, Charlotte County now offers two "Mini-Transfer Stations". One is located in Englewood at 7070 Environmental Way and the other is located in Murdock on Kenilworth Blvd. in Port Charlotte. Both sites are open Tuesday - Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and accept Cardboard, Mixed Paper, Newspaper, Aluminum and Steel Cans, Glass and Plastic from both residents and businesses.
These locations also accept Household Hazardous Wastes, yardwaste, and other various materials. However, these sites will not accept these wastes from businesses. If you have any questions regarding these sites or their services, please call the County Environmental and Extension Services at 764-4360.
Used Oil Disposal
City residents may now call Public Works 941-575-5050 to schedule a pick up for used motor oil on their recycling day. City Residents can place used motor oil at the curb, use a self-contained receptacle with a screw on lid. Waste Management’s trucks will be equipped with a special compartment to transport motor oil containers.
Residents may also take used motor oil products to Advanced Auto Parts, located within the City, to dispose of their used oil products.
Advanced Auto Parts – 2245 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, FL
o Oil products only
o Any container cleaned and contained
o Maximum size container is 5 gallons
o Maximum amount per visit for recycling is 5 gallons
o Hours: Monday through Saturday 7:30 am – 9 pm, Sunday 9 am to 8 pm
o Citizens will be required to dispose of their containers
Additional solutions and drop-off sites for oil recycling and other recycling opportunities may be found at http://earth911.org/.
To schedule the collection of appliances, please call the Public Works office at 575-5050. Collections are usually scheduled for Fridays, but make sure to call to get on the pickup scheduled.
For more information regarding hazardous waste collections or the Mini-Transfer Stations, please contact:
Charlotte County Environmental and Extension Services
Municipal Solid Waste Management
25550 Harbor View Road, Suite 2
Port Charlotte, FL 33980
(941) 764-4360 * Englewood: 697-4000 x4360
The City of Punta Gorda Sanitation Division hopes this information has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kathy Mahar.
Small Quantity Hazardous Material Generators:
Many businesses, both large and small, use hazardous materials in their processes. Some of these processes produce wastes, a portion which may require special handling or disposal. The method a business manager employs to manage hazardous waste will have a direct influence on business profits and future liabilities for the property, the business, and its owners.
If you are a business owner and would like information on how to properly dispose of your business generated hazardous waste, please contact the Charlotte County Municipal Solid Waste Management Division at (941) 764-4380 or FAX at 764-4399 for expert advice and information regarding this program.
To find out more about Florida Department of Environmental Protection guidelines on hazardous waste management click here. If you would like to review Small Quantity Generator requirements, visit this informative site.
Storm Water Educational Materials Available:
Information about where to view Urban Runoff Videos may be available via the County Website, as well as the "Handbook for Identifying Illicit Stormwater Discharges".
Where Does All the Dirty Water Go?
[PDF Format] - This brochure raises citizen's awareness of the importance of wastewater, explains the basics of wastewater treatment, and contains helpful hints for homeowners about what NOT to put into the sanitary sewer system.
Take the Stormwater Challenge
Provides a fun learning opportunity for middle school children and can be used to generate classroom discussion or further exploration of water pollution issues.
Benefits of Protecting Your Community from Sanitary Sewer Overflows
[PDF Format] - This brochure outlines the benefits of controlling sanitary sewer overflows, which include healthier communities, an increase in the number of waterfront visitors, and satisfied taxpayers.
Homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems
[PDF Format] This short brochure is based on the booklet above.
10 Things That You Can Do to Prevent Stormwater Runoff Pollution
This handy bookmark lists 10 simple things anyone can do to prevent stormwater pollution.
After the Storm
Provides a broad overview of stormwater pollution, including runoff from residential and commercial properties, farms, construction sites, automotive facilities, forestry operations, and others (EPA 833-B-03-002)
Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff
This fact sheet explains how urbanized areas affect water quality through increased runoff and pollutant loads and what homeowners can do to prevent stormwater pollution (EPA 841-F-03-003). Date Published: 03/01/2003
Water Conservation Practices for Homeowners
The greatest benefit of water conservation in the home is cost savings. By reducing the amount of water used, monthly water bills are reduced. If homes are served by septic systems, reducing water use reduces the amount of wastewater to be treated, thereby minimizing strain on the system and improving pollutant removal performance. Here are some helpful water conservation practices that can help conserve water resources and save homeowners money:
- Run the dishwasher and laundry machines only with full loads. use the shortest wash and rinse cycles and the lowest water level setting possible. Avoid the permanent press cycle which uses an additional 10 to 20 gallons of water.
- When hand-washing dishes, do not let the water run continuously.
- Avoid using garbage disposal systems.
- When buying a new washing machine, choose a suds-saver model.
- In bathrooms, place two half-gallon plastic bottles filled with water in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of flush water used.
- Take shorter showers and use a water-conserving showerhead (less than 2.5 gallons per minute) rather than taking baths, which use 30 to 50 gallons of water.
- When shaving, brushing teeth, or washing your face, do not let the water run continuously.
- When washing your car, use a bucket and wash and rinse sections individually. Use a high-pressure, low-volume hose with a nozzle.
- Water the lawn only when absolutely necessary. More water is consumed using sprinkler and irrigation systems than if a hand-held hose is used (International Turf Producers Foundation, no date). (Trickle irrigation systems and soaker hoses are 20 percent more efficient than sprinklers.)
- Water lawns only during the coolest time of day to avoid evaporation of the water.
NATIONAL POLLUTION DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM
Want To A Be Part Of The Solution...Get Involved!
Find Out More About How You Can Help. Contact Any Of The Outstanding Organizations Listed Below:
The Charlotte Harbor NEP is a partnership that protects the Charlotte Harbor estuaries from Venice to Estero Bay by improving the ecological integrity of the watershed. This partnership gives citizens, elected officials, resource managers, and commercial and recreational resource users in the 4,400-square-mile study area a voice to address diverse resource management concerns including fish and wildlife habitat loss, water quality and water flow. The watershed in the study area includes all or parts of Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Polk, Hardee and DeSoto counties. Visit their web site to learn more.
Since its inception in 1990, Florida's Adopt-A-Highway Program has been very successful in reducing the cost of litter removal and improving the appearance of highway right-of-way areas throughout Florida.
Florida Yards And Neighborhoods
The Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program is an educational outreach program informing homeowners how they can be more environmentally friendly with their landscape care practices and how this can help protect Florida's natural environment for future generations.
Objectives of the FY&N program are to:
Decrease non-point source pollution
Create beautiful landscapes
Enhance wildlife habitat
Visit their web site to learn more about this enlightening program.