In 2011, the City of Lakeland conducted its second storm water survey with the residents of Lakeland. The City conducted a similar survey in 2008 to determine resident’s awareness of storm water issues in our community.
These two surveys provide information to city staff on how to manage its public education program, what issues are important in the opinion of its citizens, where improvements can be made to our storm water program. The survey also serves to fulfill obligations mandated by a 2011 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit requiring public outreach and education regarding stormwater.
The 2011 survey was conducted in May over the telephone by a private consultant to a random sample of 416 households.
The paragraphs provide some of the major findings from the 2011 survey and how it compares with the 2008 survey.
Relative Importance of Water Quality to Other Issues Affecting Residents in Lakeland
- Compared to other City priorities 59% (up from 56% in 2008) of those surveyed thought it was "very important" to maintain and protect streams and stream corridors in Lakeland, 36% felt is was "somewhat important", 4% felt it was not important, and 2% were not sure.
Taking Personal Responsibilities for Issues that Affect Water Quality and the Environment
- Of those residents who currently participate in activities to help the environment, 71% were willing to take hazardous waste to a waste site, 53% were willing to pick up trash along rivers and streams, and 50% were willing to wash their cars on the lawn/grass instead of the street.
Perceived Impact of Various Activities in Water Quality
- 75% of residents felt the runoff from construction sites and erosion of river and stream banks was a "major" or "minor problem" in the area, 70% felt water pollution from stormwater runoff was a problem, and 65% felt water pollution from raw sewage was a problem in the area.
- 60% of residents indicated they fertilize their yard on a regular basis. 46% of residents felt fertilizing the lawn with chemical fertilizers is harmful to water quality.
The importance of protecting water ranks fifth this year as opposed to third in 2008. Other areas that ranked higher included safety from crime, quality of education, quality of life with family, and maintaining property values.
The challenge before the city’s stormwater staff is to devise and implement programs to enhance the public’s knowledge of how activities in their daily lives can improve water quality in Lakeland now and in the future.