Skip to Main Content
Environmental Health and Safety


Stormwater pollution can have a significant impact on the quality of surface waters and surrounding ecosystems. The University of North Florida strives to mitigate the impact of stormwater runoff from its facilities. To that end, UNF is implementing numerous best management practices (BMPs) that will minimize its contribution to stormwater pollution. 

Here we offer you information on stormwater regulations, University stormwater management practices and ways to prevent stormwater pollution both on our campuses and at home. 


UNF Stormwater MS4 Permit 

UNF Stormwater Program


The purpose of this program is to prohibit illicit discharges to the University of North Florida’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) in compliance with Phase II of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.



The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulates illicit discharges to surface waters in the state of Florida. In an effort to address this type of pollution, stormwater management regulations were established to reduce the impact of contaminated stormwater runoff from certain MS4s. Under the regulations outlined in F.A.C. 62-624, the University of North Florida (UNF) is required to comply with these requirements.

As a condition of the stormwater regulations, regulated MS4s are required to prohibit illicit discharges. An illicit discharge is any discharge to the UNF campus storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of stormwater with the exceptions of State recognized exclusions or activities covered by a specific discharge permit.


As part of the UNF’s commitment to environmental stewardship, all illicit discharges to the UNF campus stormwater system are prohibited.


Roles and Responsibilities

UNF President:

The President assures that UNF maintains compliance with all state, federal and local regulations related to environmental health and safety.

Employees, Students, Contractors, and Visitors:

  • Shall comply with all aspects of the UNF MS4 Permit.
  • Shall not discharge any illicit materials to the UNF storm sewer system.
  • Shall report any observed illicit discharges to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) or the University Police Department (UPD).

Colleges, Departments, Units, and Contractors:

  • Shall take appropriate actions to ensure that illicit materials are not discharged to the UNF storm sewer system in the course of activities related to their operations or the operations of those working under their purview.
  • Shall ensure that if an illicit discharges is discovered within a college, department, unit, or contractor’s jurisdiction, they will ensure that the discharge has ceased and that appropriate measures have been taken to remediate the situation.
  • Shall report all illicit discharges to UNF EHS or University Police Department.
  • Will bear the financial responsibility of remediating any environmental contamination resulting from illicit discharges related to their activities or the activities of their employees. 

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S):

  • Shall respond to all reports of illicit discharges and take necessary actions to mitigate releases to include procuring and directing cleanup operations. If required remedial actions are beyond the ability of EH&S, a contractor may be called to complete the remediation.
  • Is responsible for notifying environmental authorities, as required by law, in the event of an illicit discharge.
  • Shall provide guidance to the UNF community regarding the prevention of illicit discharges.

Illicit Discharge

An illicit discharge is any discharge into a storm drain that is not composed entirely of stormwater.

Illicit discharge are a problem because, unlike wastewater which flows to a wastewater treatment plant, stormwater generally flows to waterways without any additional treatment. The stormwater that runs through the university storm sewer system ultimately enters Pablo Creek and other area streams, and eventually ends up in the Intracoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.

Examples of illicit discharges include: water from car washing, dumping anything that is not rainwater into storm drains, and runoff from pressure washing activities using chemicals. Curb drains and drains with open metal grates are generally part of the storm sewer system, thus discharging into these structures is prohibited.

To report illicit discharges or spills to the storm sewer system, contact Environmental Health and Safety at 904-620-2019 or After normal business hours, contact the University Police Department at 904-620-2800.

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping is critical for maintaining compliance with stormwater regulations. Always throw your waste into the appropriate trash or recycling containers and pick up litter observed on campus grounds. It is important to prevent any spills from entering the stormwater system, as this would be considered an illicit discharge. 


If you have questions related to stormwater management at UNF or would like more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below or contact EH&S at 904-620-2019 or

Stormwater is regulated from all levels of government from Federal to the Local level. Here are some helpful links for more information on stormwater outside of UNF. 

Federal Storm Water Resources:

 EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program

 Make your Home the Solution to Stormwater Pollution- EPA Brochure

 Stormwater and the Construction Industry- EPA Brochure

 Water Efficient Landscaping- EPA Booklet

 Stormwater Pollution Found in Your Area!- EPA Door Hanger

Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff

State Stormwater Resources:

 FDEP NPDES Stormwater Program

 St. Johns River Water Management District 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is stormwater pollution?

    Stormwater is the runoff from precipitation that flows overland that does not infiltrate into soils. The amount of stormwater increases with rainfall and the construction of nonporous surfaces such as roads,sidewalks, and roofs. 

    Pollutants can be collected by stormwater run off and deposited into surface waters through man-made conveyances including municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) potentially having detrimental impacts on ecosystems.

  • Where do stormwater pollutants come from?

    Stormwater  pollutants originate from many human activities including lawn care,construction,and vehicle maintenance.  Common pollutants found in stormwater include:

    1. Pesticides 
    2.  Nutrients 
    3.  Petroleumproducts 
    4.  Sediments 
    5.  Detergents 
    6. Solvents
    7. Heavy metals 
    8.  Litter
  • How can stormwater pollution adversely affect the environment?

    Toxic materials including petroleum products, pesticides, detergents, and other chemicals can harm aquatic ecosystems by killing organisms including invertebrates, fish, shellfish,and vegetation.

    Nutrients including the nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers and animal waste can cause an overgrowth of algae which can drive out indigenous plants and animals.  In addition,when the algae die off, the decaying matter can deplete the water body of oxygen killing fish and other aquatic organisms. 

    Sediments  deposited to waterways by stormwater run off increases the turbidity of waters and limits the depth to which light can penetrate,thereby decreasing the inhabitable space that aquatic vegetation can survive.  Sediments can also settle on, and smother,existing vegetation
  • To what water bodies does the stormwater from UNF's storm sewer discharge?
    Stormwater  from UNF’s network or storm sewers discharges to several different water bodies including retention ponds, Candy Cane Lake, Lake Oneida, Sawmill Slough, Ryals Swamp and Boggy Branch.
  • Who is affected by stormwater pollution?

    Everyone can be affected by stormwater pollution including boaters, fishermen, and anyone who enjoys the natural beauty of the area.

  • Who regulates stormwater runoff?
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates stormwater runoff through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). EPA authorized the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to implement the NPDES Stormwater Permitting Program in October 2000. FDEP is responsible for issuing permits and performing compliance and enforcement activities as the NPDES permitting authority in Florida. There are two phases of the NPDES Stormwater Program.
  • What is the difference between the two phases of the NPDES Stormwater Program?

    Phase of the NPDES Stormwater Program was promulgated in 1990. It requires large and medium municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) located in incorporated counties with a population of 100,000 or more to obtain NPDES permits.

    Phase  II of the NPDES Stormwater Program was promulgated in 1999. It requires MS4s not regulated by Phase I,and small construction activities to obtain NPDES permits and develop comprehensive stormwater management programs that will eliminate illicit discharges to MS4s and reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff. UNF is a part of the Phase II MS4 program

  • What are UNF's requirements under the NPDES Phase II MS4 permit?

     As part of the permit application, UNF submitted a list of best management practices (BMP’s) that fulfill the various elements required as part of a comprehensive stormwater management program. These BMP’s are to be phased-in over period of five year sand include the following elements:

    1. Public education and outreach 
    2. Public involvement and participation 
    3.  Illicit discharge detection and elimination 
    4.  Construction site stormwater runoff control, and
    5. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping
  • What is an illicit discharge?
     An illicit discharge is any discharge to a municipal separate storm sewer that is not a part of storm water runoff. MS4s are not designed to process or discharge such wastes. Some sources of illicit discharges include the improper disposal of mechanical fluids and toxic chemicals,improper disposal of debris, and the discharge of industrial waste waters into storm sewer systems.
  • Who can be contacted if an illicit discharge is observed?

    Illicit discharges can be reported to:


    Environmental Health and Safety: (904) 620-2019


    University Police Department: (904) 620-2800