Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water with relationship to those characteristics' effects on human and environmental health. Water quality is measured against standards developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

 Effects of Pollution on Water Quality


Water pollution affects us all; our health, quality of life, property values... Florida's weather, beautiful beaches and rivers attract people to visit and live here. The health of our waters is important to our local economy because visitors and locals like to fish, dive, visit the beaches, and eat the seafood. Poor water quality caused by pollution can limit these activities and hurt our economy. Lee County has experienced declining water quality over the last several years due to increased pollution from increasing human populations, development, automobile exhaust, overuse of fertilizer and more.

 Natural phenomena such as hurricanes accelerate declines in water quality by increasing stormwater pollution runoff to local water bodies. The results are harmful algal blooms; human and wildlife health problems; economic problems; and periodic closures of our shell fisheries. 

The major pollutant of concern in Lee County is nutrients, specifically nitrogen. There are many sources of nutrients entering our water bodies: natural decomposition of plants, contributions from wildlife and domestic animals, atmospheric deposition, development, automobile exhaust, septic tanks and fertilizer use, to name a few. Nutrients are naturally occurring in water bodies. However, excess nutrients added to the landscape and water through human activity is pollution.

 Pollution Reduction Goals

Lee County's waters are verified impaired for nutrients by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). This means that FDEP has given Lee County pollution reduction goals to meet called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), and the County is required to follow a water body restoration plan called a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). Learn more about Lee County's water quality sampling network

To find out about more about water quality throughout Southwest Florida, visit the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program's Water Atlas.

Prevention is the key to reducing pollution. Find out more about how to prevent pollution.

 Why this is important to us

Local government is responsible for adding and maintaining wastewater and stormwater treatment facilities, and for providing programs for public education. These projects and programs are required by law and the associated costs are paid by local taxes.

 4/30/19 Commissioners Worksession

4/30/19 Commissioners Worksession

 Ordinances and Education