Utilities - Stormwater and Right-of-Way Operations Division


The Stormwater Division provides maintenance and construction of drainage facilities throughout the city. Street sweeping is included in this department to ensure the reduction or elimination of dirt or leaves that enter the drainage system. Leaves and grass create organics that create algae blooms in our lakes, are not aesthetically pleasing to view, and are bad for aquatic life.  

Drainage facilities are artificial structures designed to collect, divert or discharge stormwater, such as ditches, culverts, and retention ponds. This Division routinely cleans the ditches and culverts and mows the retention ponds to ensure that the city's stormwater management functions appropriately. In addition, the department is working throughout the City to reduce or eliminate flooding areas. 

A swale is a linear retention system. It is either a constructed or natural area shaped to allow water to be quickly absorbed into the ground or to enable the water to flow to other water bodies. As in a shallow ditch, a swale promotes water absorption through soils. Swales hold water during and immediately after a storm but are generally dry.

Detention systems (ponds) are the most recognizable stormwater system. They are designed to allow material to settle and be absorbed. After a storm, water slowly drains from the pond through a pipe in the "outflow" structure. Part of the pond, known as the permanent pool, is always below the level of the drain structure. Constructed detention systems (ponds) must have aquatic plants around the perimeter to help filter sediment in stormwater runoff. The owner of the pond should refer to the permit for exact specifications. Because retention and detention systems were designed to imitate natural processes, individuals may have stormwater systems on or near their property without realizing it. What appears to be a natural indentation in the backyard may have been designed as a stormwater swale. What looks like a wild patch of shrubbery may be an essential vegetative buffer around a pond.

Tavares Stormwater Management Program

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems operators to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program to minimize the discharge of contaminates into surface waters. The Separate Storm Sewer is a system of underground pipes and surface drainage that carry rainwater away from roads and parking lots. Ultimately this drainage reaches our lakes and rivers.

Common pollutants include the following:
  • automotive fluids that leak from our vehicles onto roads, parking lots, and driveways
  • pesticides used to keep lawns green
  • sediments from construction sites
  • household trash and chemicals not correctly disposed of
  • animal waste
Tavares residents can have an enormous impact on the quality of rivers and streams by:
  • keeping vehicles maintained
  • closely following application rates for pesticides and fertilizers
  • properly disposing of household wastes and recyclables
  • watching for unusual discharges from storm drainage swales and piping during dry weather conditions

Learn More

Want to learn more about stormwater systems in your neighborhood? 
View the Neighborhood Guide to Stormwater Systems.

Illicit Discharge
An illicit discharge is any discharge into a storm drain system not composed entirely of stormwater. Exceptions include water from firefighting activities and allowable discharges from facilities covered by an NPDES permit. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike municipal wastewater, which flows to a treatment plant, stormwater generally flows to waterways without any additional treatment.

 Illicit discharges often include pathogens, nutrients, surfactants, organic chemicals, and various toxic pollutants. They may be caused when a sewage disposal system interacts with the storm drain system or accidental or deliberate cross-connections between industrial or commercial drains and the stormwater system. They may also occur when individuals dump contaminated liquids into storm drains or when outdoor activities like pressure washing or radiator flushing cause polluted water to flow into the stormwater system or directly into a water body. Landscape irrigation can also produce intermittent illicit discharges if over-watering or misdirected sprinklers send water over impervious areas, making unacceptable nutrients, organic matter, or pesticides.


Contact us

  1. Jason Spann, Supervisor

    Stormwater and Right-of-Way Operations Division
    Office: 352-742-6240
    Cell: 352-516-6285
    Email Jason Spann

    Wendall Hunt, Assistant Supervisor 

    Right-of-Way Operations Division


    Monday - Friday
    8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    After hours: 352.516.6285

    Utilities Billing

    Email Utility Billing

    Utilities Operations
    1000 Captain Haynes Road
    Tavares, FL 32778


    Monday - Friday
    8:00 am - 5:00 pm