Clean Water Utility

Storm Water Basics:

Storm Water is water that originates from rain or melting snow. Storm Water that does not soak in to the ground becomes surface runoff and flows into road side ditches and storm sewers. It then flows across the landscape, picking up a variety of hazardous materials, and washes them into our lakes, rivers and streams. Contaminated surface runoff is the number one cause of Wisconsin’s water quality issues.

The Federal Government has enacted several new unfunded mandates requiring municipalities to increase their efforts regarding storm water quality. In order to comply with the Wisconsin DNR NR-216 permit, The Village of Pleasant Prairie has created The Clean Water Utility to fund capital projects needed to improve storm water quality. The four major components used by the Village, to determine The Clean Water Utility budget include operating expenses, new program costs, saving for future projects and capital projects.

2006 was the first year of the Clean Water Utility, and the Village Board decided to fund only daily operations. This excluded any capital projects. The 2007 budget will fund day to day operating expenses and system maintenance as well as vehicle equipment replacement, some capital projects, new federally mandated water quality programs, plus initiate a fund to draw on to replace older storm sewer pipes and storm water basins.

StreetAll properties generate storm water runoff during rain events.
Storm water has become a concern for two main reasons – 1) the volume and timing of runoff impacting flood control and water supplies and 2) the potential health hazards that contaminated runoff carries with it throughout the water cycle.

Because areas of development have more impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and buildings that do not allow rain to infiltrate into the ground, more runoff is generated per surface area than in less developed areas. This additional runoff causes stream and river erosion as well as flooding when the storm water collection system is overwhelmed by additional flow. Because water is flushed out of the watershed during a storm event, very minor amounts of water will infiltrate the already saturated soil to replenish our groundwater or supply a base flow for stream during dry weather.

Water we use in our homes finds its way into our household drains and is eventually routed through our sanitary sewer system to a wastewater treatment plant. But storm water or snow melt that flows into a storm drain flows unimpeded and untreated into our natural and recreational waterways. When you wash your cars in your driveway and let the soapy rinse water flow into the street it eventually finds its way to a storm water drain or ditch and into one our natural waterways. Look at your driveway or downspout the next time it rains and think about where all that rain water ends up. You probably already know that our storm sewer system and ditches eventually drain into one of two primary bodies of water. Surface water that drains into Lake Michigan flows towards the Atlantic Ocean while any water draining into the Des Plaines River flows southward to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Utility’s goal is to keep our waterways clean by stopping contaminates before they can flow into them. Clean rivers, lakes, and ground water are an essential component to the health and well being of all.

The Clean Water Utility Informational Video

Other Clean Water Utility Informational Videos

Frequently Asked Questions Video
Clean Water Utility how it is Funded and a Budget Breakdown Video
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