Our overall mission is to protect the water environment and its beneficial use. There are many areas associated with these efforts.
A significant portion of our work centers around surface water quality. Our staff are the lead environmental agency collecting surface water quality data in Duval County. As such we closely coordinate all of our monitoring activities with other agencies working in the area. All of the data collected by our team is regularly provided to state, regional and local agencies charged with permitting activities that may impact surface water quality. We are also the lead agency responding to citizen complaints or fish kills for surface waters of the state in Duval County.
Citizen Reports of Pollution
Our staff investigates reports regarding pollution events or activities by others. We address discharge of pollutants to storm drains, ditches, rivers or creeks; over-flowing manholes or pump stations; uncontrolled erosion from land clearing activities or pumping of muddy water into creeks, storm drains, or ditches; and fish kills in natural bodies of water (not stormwater ponds). While the branch has a goal of responding to complaints within 24 hours, many investigations are conducted on the same day as the complaint is received.
Our staff enforces the rules and standards contained in JEPB Rules 3 and 7, in order to protect the quality of water for all citizens in Duval County. We can provide information on the Rules and answer questions concerning their applicability. The Rules basically cover the areas of wastewater facilities (permitting, operation and regionalization), pump stations, stormwater ponds, wells (construction and location), water quality standards, and water pollution.
This permitting program is delegated to the city by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Under the current Specific Operating Agreement, the Water Quality Branch (WQB) is responsible for processing of permit applications for the construction of wastewater collection systems and the operation of wastewater treatment facilities with discharges to ground waters. Except for service connections, a permit is required for the construction of any sanitary gravity sewer or force main in Duval County. A permit is also required to construct and operate a wastewater treatment facility (WWTF)
Since the implementation of Environmental Protection Board (EPB) Rule 3 to phase-out less reliable package wastewater treatment plants by connecting to larger regional treatment facilities, 352 WWTF discharges have been removed, bringing the total inventory of wastewater treatment plants in Duval County from 393 in 1986 to 41 as of January 2004, including 22 regional facilities. Chart of Wastewater Facility Inventory in Duval County since implementation of Rule 3.
The removal of non-regional WWTFs means more than just the reduction in WWTF inventory; its effects on our water environment will be realized gradually for years to come. The removal of these discharges represents a reduction in pollutant loading on the receiving basins, lakes, creeks, and groundwater.