Managing Residential Water Pollution

If it falls on the ground, it can end up in the water

Water is made available to us through a process called the water cycle. The process begins with the evaporation of water from the earth’s surface. The sun heats the water creating a moisture vapor that rises into the atmosphere. When the atmosphere cools, the vapor condenses to form clouds. Eventually, the clouds will release moisture in the form of rain or snow depending on your location. When the rain hits the ground, some of this surface water will infiltrate, helping to recharge the underground aquifer. Some of the surface water will run off into canals. Finally, some of the surface water will be reheated by the sun and the water cycle will continue.

In our area of south Florida, we get our drinking water from surface water supplies. Surface water will runoff roof tops, over lawns and roadways into the storm drains or inlets. As this water travels across the surface it picks up sediment, trash, fertilizers, pesticides and oils washed off streets and lawns. Surface water will eventually flow through underground pipes making its way into the canal system which recharges the surficial aquifer and some municipal wellfields.

Residents can take simple steps to reduce or eliminate residential water pollution. Do not over apply fertilizers or pesticides on lawns and use specific spot treatments rather than general broadcast application methods. Spray on windless days and not before or during rain events. Dispose of unused paint and household chemicals correctly. Never dump them into toilets, sinks, storm drains or canals. Chemicals such as chlorine are very toxic to fish and animals. When draining hot tubs or pools, direct the water away from the canal. Wash cars with a minimum of detergent and wash on gravel or lawns to avoid runoff entering storm drains and canals. Sweep your walks and driveways instead of using a garden hose which can wash litter and pollutants into storm drains and canals. Remember, if it falls on the ground, it can end up in the water.

LWDD Employees Share The Spirit Of Giving

Children’s holiday gift drive is a great success

District employees raised more than $2,000 in cash and gifts for the Spirit of Giving Network’s Annual Holiday Gift Drive. The Spirit of Giving Network, in partnership with the Junior League of Boca Raton, works with 35 organizations to help make holiday wishes come true for more than 4,000 children in Palm Beach County. For more information about the Spirit of Giving organization, visit their website at

Former Supervisor Joyce DuBois Haley Passes Away

Faithful servant of the Lake Worth Drainage District remembered

On November 11, 2017, the Lake Worth Drainage District and its residents lost one of its great public servants when former Supervisor, Joyce DuBois Haley, passed away.

Mrs. Haley, long-time resident of Palm Beach County, was appointed to the Lake Worth Drainage District Board of Supervisors in 2007 to replace C. Stanley Weaver who retired. She held the distinction of being the first female Supervisor since the District’s creation more than 100 years ago. “I’m honored to serve the taxpayers and accept role of Board Supervisor with the utmost respect for my fellow Board Members” stated Mrs. Haley upon her appointment. She faithfully served the District and its property owners with unquestionable devotion until her retirement in September 2015.

Storm-Related Debris Removal

What you should know about storm debris removal 

Following a storm event, the District conducts immediate post-storm assessments, inspecting water control structures and clearing debris from canals and rights-of-way. Debris reports submitted by staff or property owners are individually reviewed and prioritized for vegetation removal as follows:

  • High Priority – Vegetation is in the water and threatening drainage.
  • Medium Priority – Vegetation is blocking the right-of-way and encumbering access or vegetation is significantly leaning over waterway and could be a potential future threat to drainage.
  • Low Priority – Vegetation originating on the District right-of-way and significantly occupying or fallen onto private property. (Please note, the District will not dispatch crews for removal of individual branches or to trim trees that are not leaning more than 50% on private property).

Vegetation that has fallen or leaning from the District right-of-way into private property but does not threaten flood control will be scheduled for removal after the District has completed removal of high and medium priority vegetation. The District estimates that removal of medium priority vegetation will be completed by the end of the 2017.

Private property owners that wish to trim vegetation that has fallen or is leaning on their property from the District’s right-of-way may do so at their discretion and expense. Any debris from trimming or tree removal by property owners must be disposed of by the property owner or, if applicable, the contractor performing the work.It is unlawful to place any debris on canal rights-of-way and illegal dumping will be reported to authorities.

If access to the District’s right-of-way is necessary to trim or remove vegetation, the property owner should receive prior approval from the District for right-of-way access and provide an executed hold harmless agreement.  Likewise, if the District must access private property to remove vegetation, the property owner must provide an executed hold harmless agreement prior to start of work.If fallen debris has damaged personal property, the individual property owner should contact their insurance company to submit a claim. The District will not directly reimburse property owners for damage. Email your debris removal questions to

Hurricane Highlights Importance of Maintenance

Canal Rehabilitation Program reduced recovery efforts

During recovery efforts from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it was evident that the District’s Canal Rehabilitation Program is working. Post-storm assessments reflected no structural flooding, minimal damage to the canal system and a reduced need for vegetative clean-up. The District’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Irma required far less resources than that of past storms in bringing the flood control system back to fully operational.

Many people in Palm Beach County live along a District canal. In order to enhance their properties, they sometimes plant vegetation or place other encroachments such as fences and sheds on the District’s rights-of-way. Encroachments are a public safety issue because they can cause canal blockages, obscure sightlines for visual inspections, slow the progression of drainage and impede access for maintenance and emergency response. Free flowing canals and unencumbered access along the rights-of-way are critical components to overall public safety and flood control.

As part of the District’s Canal Rehabilitation Program, staff vigorously enforces a policy of unencumbered canal rights-of-way within the District’s boundaries. Depending on the condition of the site,
rehabilitation projects may include the removal of vegetative and both structural and non-structural encroachments. Additionally, the dredging of the canal channel and reshaping of the canal bank may be required. More information on canal maintenance can be found on our website at