The City of Miramar Florida


Miramar Canals

The Miramar canals are maintained and cleaned on regular basis to fight pollution often caused by careless behavior. Understanding pollution and how simple acts such as washing cars, overfertilizing grass, oil leaks or littering can help protect our waterways.

The phosphorous found in canals is a result of dumping detergent and fertilizers into water bodies. The algae and aquatic weeds is a result of the presence of nutrients like phosphorous into drains and water bodies that nourish the plants and increases dramatically the vegetation. These actions affect dramatically the overall beauty, functionality, color and smell of the canals. It also suffocates and kills fish and other wildlife.

  1. South Florida Canals
  2. Waterways
Stormwater runoff
Stormwater runoff is water from rain that “runs off” across the land instead of seeping into the ground. This runoff usually flows into the nearest canal, lake or ocean. The runoff is generally not treated. Stormwater runoff can convey more than just water to canals, rivers, and lakes. It carries dirt, grease, trash and more from roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces right into storm drains and ditches. They empty directly into our waterways. Storm water can also carry excess nutrients, like phosphorus, which turns our canals, lakes and streams green and smelly and harms fish, plants and other wildlife.


Polluted runoff
Water from rain either seeps into the ground or “runs off” to lower areas, making its way into canals, lakes and other water bodies. On its way, runoff water can pick up and carry many substances that pollute water. Some - like pesticides, fertilizers, oil and soap – are harmful in any quantity. Others – like sediment from construction, bare soil, or agricultural land, or pet waste, grass clippings and leaves – can harm canals and lakes in sufficient quantities. In addition to rain, various human activities like watering, car washing, and malfunctioning septic tank can also put water onto the land surface. Here, it can also create runoff that carries pollutants to creeks, rivers and lakes.


  • Causes of pollution
  • Reduce pollution
  • Storm Water Pollutants
Pollution AnimationPolluted runoff generally happens anywhere people use or alter the land. For example, in developed areas, none of the water that falls on hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, parking lots or roads can seep into the ground.

These impervious surfaces create large amounts of runoff that picks up pollutants. The runoff flows from gutters and storm drains to canals. Runoff not only pollutes but erodes canals banks.

The mix of pollution and eroded dirt muddies the water and causes problems downstream.



The way to protect and clean our waterways is to make sure only rain—and nothing else—goes into the storm drains and ditches.

If you own a car, maintain it so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Be sure to wash it on the grass or at a car wash so the dirt and soap do not flow down the driveway and into the nearest storm drain.

If you own a yard, do not over fertilize your grass. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides before a heavy rain. If fertilizer falls onto driveways or sidewalks, sweep it up instead of hosing it away. Mulch leaves and grass clippings and place leaves in the yard at the curb, not in the street. Doing this keeps leaves out of the gutter, where they can wash into the nearest storm drain. Turn your gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces, seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion and consider building a rain garden in low-lying areas of your lawn.
If you have a septic system, maintain it properly by having it pumped every three to five years. If it is an older system, be sure it can still handle the volume placed on it today. Never put chemicals down septic systems, they can harm the system and seep into the groundwater.

Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
Keep lawn and household chemicals tightly sealed and in a place where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of old or unwanted chemicals at household hazardous waste collections sites or events.
Never put anything in a storm drain.
Don’t litter.

  • From agricultural land and lawns:
    • Fertilizer
    • Herbicides
    • Insecticides
  • From Paved Roads and parking Lots:
    • Oil
    • Grease
    • Toxic Chemicals
  • Sediments from:
    • Construction sites
    • Impact areas
    • Any area without ground cover
  • Bacteria and Nutrients from:
    • Faulty septic systems
    • Pet and wildlife waste
    • Livestock
Best Management Practices

“Best Management Practices” is a term used to describe different ways to keep pollutants out of runoff and to slow down high volumes of runoff.

  • Don’t pour anything down storm drains
  • Recycle used motor oil and antifreeze
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of lawn and garden chemicals
  • Direct car wash soap onto your lawn rather then directly into storm drains.
  • Watch How to Protect the Water from Pollution
Stormwater and Runoff
“Best management practices” is a term used to describe different ways to keep pollutants out of runoff and to slow down high volumes of runoff. Preventing pollution from entering water is much more affordable than cleaning polluted water. Educating state residents about how to prevent pollution from entering waterways is one of the best management practices.

Laws that require people and businesses involved in earth disturbing activities --like construction and agriculture -- to take steps to prevent erosion are another way to prevent stormwater pollution. There are also laws about litter, cleaning up after pets and dumping oil or other substances into storm drains.


Education and laws are just two best management practice examples. Some BMPs are constructed to protect a certain area. Some are designed to slow down stormwater, others help reduce the pollutants already in it – there are also BMPs that do both of these things.

Detention ponds, built to temporarily hold water so it seeps away slowly, fill up quickly after a rainstorm and allow solids like sediment and litter to settle at the pond bottom. Then, they release the water slowly. These ponds are one constructed BMP example. Storm drain grates, filter strips, sediment fences and permeable paving are other examples.

Algae Bloom
This is an example of an algae bloom which changes the color of the lake from bright green, red or dark brown. This is often the direct result of pollution by fertilizers leaching from commercial and residential properties. Detergents dumped into the water bodies also contain the phosphorous that can cause algae blooms.
Algae Bloom
Aquatic Weed
This is an example of non-native aquatic plants. A small amount is needed for the fish to strive in the lake. However, when nutrients are in excess in the water, it creates an overgrowth of these non-native aquatic plants, often referred to as aquatic weeds. The plants can quickly overpower entire bodies of water, chocking and killing fish and other wildlife. It clogs up the drainage outlets, makes the lakes unnavigable by boat and makes fishing difficult.
Grass Carps
Grass Carps are often released into the lakes and canals to naturally control the aquatic weeds thus reducing the need for chemical treatment. The law forbids the fishing and catching of grass carps in order to protect the ecosystem.

The Grass Carp is a herbivorous, freshwater fish. It was introduced in the United States for aquatic weed control. Grass carps have an elongate, chubby body form that is torpedo shaped. Body color is dark olive, shading to brownish-yellow on the sides with a white belly and large slightly outlined scales. The grass carp grows very rapidly, and can attain nearly 4 feet in length and over 70 pounds. They eat up to 3 times their own body weight daily. They thrive in small lakes and backwaters that provide an abundant supply of fresh water vegetation.

grass carps

Adults of the species feed exclusively on aquatic plants. They feed on higher aquatic plants and submerged grasses, but may also take detritus, insects, and other invertebrates. The species was deliberately introduced into the United States in 1963 for aquatic weed control. When used for weed control, often the fish introduced to the pond or stream are sterile.

Vacuum Truck
The city uses an industrial sewer cleaning and vacuum truck for Storm Drainage Maintenance, Industrial Waste Cleanup, and Vacuum Excavation. The Vacuum Truck is used to clean the debris and pollutants from the catch basins. The Vacuum Truck uses a combination of high pressure water jetting attached to a super sucker vacuum truck which are used to unclogg the drainage systems throughout the City of Miramar.
Pump Stations
Street Sweeper
The Street Sweeper is a preventive maintenance practice which reduces the debris that enters the catch basins that lead directly into our waterways. The Street Sweeper is operated daily to keep the City streets clean.

A street sweeper is a machine that cleans streets. A mechanical street-sweeper converts the broom to several rotating disks or drums covered in bristles, with which it sweeps away dirt after spraying the street with water.

An air street sweeper uses air to create a swirling knifing effect inside of a contained sweeping head and then uses the negative pressure on the suction side to place the road debris inside of a containment hopper.

  • Stormdrains & Swells
Frequently Asked Questions
bulletMy pond has a green film on it - what do I do?
Chances are your pond is experiencing an algae bloom. This occurs frequently in ponds that receive excess nutrients in runoff from surrounding areas.  Nutrients are washed into the waterbody and the algae bloom occurs.  These blooms can also cause strong odors to emanate from ponds and creeks. 
bulletWhy are there all these dead fish in my pond? 
Fish kills are common occurrences in the winter and during particularly hot days during the summer.  The most common cause is low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the pond.  Cold weather also causes kills of fish with little tolerance for drops in temperature (e.g. tilapia).
bulletWhat is stormwater?

Stormwater is rainwater that falls into a watershed. Stormwater may carry excess nutrients and other pollutants from the watershed into waterbodies.

bulletWhat is a watershed?
A watershed is a defined area of land from which all precipitation collects and drains to a common stream, bay, marsh, or lake.
bulletWhat causes poor water quality? 

A number of factors may contribute to poor water quality.  Some of the main culprits are runoff of fertilizers and pesticides from yards, oil and grease from cars, and sediment from construction sites.  Trash, run off of hazardous materials, dumping of waste, and spills are other pollutants that degrade water quality.  Natural occurrences such as algae blooms, although often triggered by pollution, may also contribute to a decline in water quality.

bulletWhy can’t I dump grass clippings into the stormdrain or onto the roads?
Dumping of any material into the stormdrain or onto the roads is a direct violation of the County NPDES Stormwater ordinance.  A Notice of Violation (NOV) may be issued and could be followed by a fine of up to $500. It is especially important to remember that many stormdrains and gutters lead directly into the bay or to other County water bodies
bulletWhat is storm water?
Storm water is responsible for funding the operation, management, construction and maintenance of Storm water facilities. This generates its revenue through user fees. The Storm water fee is a service fee and not a tax. The fees are used to maintain and upgrade drainage facilities within the City as well as funding state and federal mandates regarding storm Water facility reviews, inspections, and the erosion and sediment control program that relates to new construction.
bulletWhat is Storm water runoff?
Storm water runoff results from rainfall. Typically, the more rainfall we get the less likely that the rainwater will be absorbed into the soils resulting in more storm water reaching our storm drains, ditches, streams, lakes and reservoirs.
bulletWhere are storm drains?
For the most part, storm drains are located within the limits of the streets. Water typically flows across the land onto the road and gutters and into storm water inlets that are connected to the storm water drainage pipes. In the more rural areas, storm water is conveyed along roadside ditches.
bulletDoes this storm water get treated at the wastewater plant?
No, storm water collected in the drainage system drains into our ditches and canals which discharge into lakes and oceans.
bulletWhat kind of pollution is in the rainfall runoff?
The pollution depends on what the rainfall runoff is running off from. Nearly all runoff contains silt and soil as a result of erosion. Runoff from agricultural lands and our lawns often contain fertilizer and herbicides. Runoff  from streets and highways may contain oil and grease plus heavy metals such as lead from gasoline exhaust emissions, selenium from tires, phosphorus and several others from a variety of sources.
bulletIs trash and debris floating in the water considered pollution?
Yes, the floating debris in the water is pollution and often termed floatables. Floatables are one of the simplest pollution to control – stop litter!
bulletWhat about Bacteria?
Another pollutant which gets into the storm water is bacteria. Bacteria originates from illicit sanitary sewer connections or overflows, pet and wild animal waste, and birds. The City has a program to eliminate illicit sanitary sewer connections and overflows. Picking up pet waste and properly disposing of it also eliminates bacteria.
bulletWhy is the Storm Water fee necessary?

The Storm Water Fee is a result of the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972 and amendments thereafter. The regulations require cities to make improvements to reduce the amount of pollution from storm water runoff. These improvements include public education as well as removing pollution at the source. There are no federal or state dollars provided to implement water quality measures so the Storm Water fee has been adopted. Storm water is responsible for funding the operation, management, construction and maintenance of Storm water facilities. This generates its revenue through user fees. The Storm water fee is a service fee and not a tax. The fees are used to maintain and upgrade drainage facilities within the City as well as funding state and federal mandates regarding storm Water facility reviews, inspections, and the erosion and sediment control program that relates to new construction.

Mid-November: The Installation of Storm Structure Drainage on Sunshine Blvd.

bulletMy utility bill includes a charge for "stormwater." What is this?

The stormwater fee on your bill helps to offset costs related to maintaining drainage systems throughout the City. These systems include roadways, drainage culverts, pumping stations and canals.

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