Wastewater Incident Reporting
Wastewater incidents, which include wastewater spills, can pose a threat to the environment and the public health. Immediate notification and appropriate response are essential factors at minimizing the impact from wastewater incidents. Spills which are of 1,000 gallons or greater, or which may threaten the environment or public heath are required to be immediately reported by a utility to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) through a toll-free, 24-hour hotline known as the State Watch Office. Citizens are also encouraged to report any suspected wastewater incidents to the toll-free number. Please note that a utility which experiences a spill less than 1,000 gallons is only required to report such incident to the Department by notifying their appropriate District Office or delegated local program.
On average, the State Watch Office receives two wastewater incident notifications a day for the entire state. In many cases, wastewater spills are caused by road construction, storms or other factors beyond the control of the wastewater facility. Nearly two-thirds of all spills have a volume of less than 10,000 gallons, far less than the volume of a typical backyard swimming pool. In most cases, wastewater spills can be contained and much of the released volume can be recovered for proper treatment.
FDEP staff follow-up on wastewater incident reports and work closely with the facility to initiate any necessary remedial actions. FDEP also works with local health agencies to ensure that appropriate public health warnings are issued immediately. It is important to note that the Department's primary compliance efforts are to prevent spills by ensuring facilities are properly constructed, operated and maintained.
Sanitary Sewer Overflows and CMOM
CMOM stands for Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance for sanitary sewer collection systems. The Management, Operation and Maintenance (MOM) Programs Project is a pilot enforcement approach developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPAs) Region 4 to bring municipal sewer systems into full compliance with the Clean Water Act by eliminating sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) from municipal sewer systems.
In recent years, Florida has experienced numerous tropical storms and hurricanes. Being prepared for emergencies is not only essential to every resident of Florida, but also to wastewater treatment utilities. For this reason, FDEP sponsored the creation of the Florida’s Water-Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN) - a formalized system of "utilities helping utilities" to address mutual aid during emergency situations such as hurricanes. FlaWARN has developed an Emergency Response & Preparedness manual to assist water and wastewater utilities in developing appropriate procedures to deal with such events.
In addition, the Department has developed a web-site called StormTracker which allows all Florida water and wastewater utilities to report their operational status following significant storm events. The operational status along with the reported needs of a utility are used to not only assess storm damage but to efficiently mobilize resources and distribute aid through FlaWARN. Wastewater incidents or spills which occur as a result of a storm event are still reported to the State Watch Office (1-800-320-0519).
What is the State Watch Office?
Why did FDEP change the reporting of wastewater spills to the
State Watch Office?
Where can I find regulations pertaining to wastewater spill
What does one do if a wastewater spill is discovered?
Where does a spill get reported?
What information does a permittee provide when reporting a spill?
What happens after a spill gets reported to the State Watch
What is FlaWARN?
What if a utility requires immediate assistance in the event of an
emergency to ensure public health & safety?
What if a utility is unable to connect to the Internet after a storm
How does an owner or operator of a utility get access to StormTracker?
For more information on spill reporting or hurricane preparedness contact the appropriate DEP district office or the Wastewater Compliance Assurance program at (850) 245-8567.
Last updated: July 29, 2013
2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax)