Dog parks are a great addition to many community park systems, however, high traffic and repeat visits can add up to a lot of dogs and related doggy deposits at these sites. E. coli and high nutrient levels associated with accumulations of pet waste can be mobilized into local lakes, streams, and wetlands during snow melt and rain events.
Urban trees are showing more promise from a storm water perspective than ever before. Trees absorb water from soil and transpire it to the atmosphere, reducing the amount of rainwater that flows untreated into storm sewers and ultimately to local lakes and rivers.
While storm water ponds can be aesthetically pleasing and a community recreation feature, they are actually engineered devices with two main functions. First, they prevent flooding by capturing runoff and flow from local storm water pipes, swales, and drainage ditches. Second, they provide water quality treatment by settling out excess sediment and nutrients from storm water that flows to the pond.
As the City of Kenosha embarked on a comprehensive analysis of their storm water infrastructure from both flood control and water quality perspectives, the City was hit with back-to-back intense rainfall events in July of 2017 that resulted in significant local and regional flooding. The immediate public health and safety concerns tied to this flooding event doubled down the City’s efforts to simultaneously develop a long-term plan for the future, while also quickly addressing some of the most pressing concerns.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for construction of storm water treatment practices through the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant Program. This is a valuable funding program that helps offset the cost of meeting MS4 Permit requirements and protecting local lakes, streams, and wetlands in Wisconsin.
MS4. TMDL. NPDES. These acronyms (and many more) can sometimes make complying with municipal storm water regulations seem like an exercise in alphabet soup more than anything else. A variety of recent advances in ways of thinking and technology can simplify regulatory compliance.
In addition to doing illicit discharge inspections during dry weather, monitoring storm sewer outfalls during snow melt and rain events can reveal pollutants that accumulate and mobilize only when storm water flows through the system.
Storm water controls are necessary to prevent flooding, protect property, and to protect local lakes and streams. Unfortunately, effective storm water controls are often very costly. Maintenance to ensure these features keep working means additional costs that are added on each year.
The City of Oconomowoc, with assistance from R/M, constructed joint parking lots with vegetated parking lot islands to allow storm water to flow across the lot and into bioretention areas.
Per the National Weather Service, April 2017 was the ninth wettest April on record for the Chicagoland area. This much rain will always reveal urban flooding issues that face our municipalities, but it's not just major flooding events that are an issue. As the economy rebounds, many communities are experiencing significant increases in redevelopment activity. L
"Storm Water" often refers to water quality impacts from rain or snow melt, but not necessarily quantity or flooding issues. But it's not so easy to separate the quality from quantity issues from a practical, on-the-ground perspective.
According to the Wisconsin DNR, approximately 250 municipalities in Wisconsin are required to hold a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit under NR 216, Wis. Adm. Code. Whether your municipality is an experienced permittee, or this is your first permitted year, one deadline remains equal: The 2016 Annual Report is due March 31st, 2017.
Storm water ponds can be designed and maintained as positive features in a neighborhood or business park. Consider these tips for maintaining these water quality features as natural ponds to enhance habitat and provide viewing opportunities for bicyclists, walkers, and residents.
Various grant opportunities are available throughout the year for planning and implementation of coordinated, strategic measures to minimize the impacts of nutrients on our water resources and water bodies.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has restructured the municipal storm water (MS4) permit program. Discussions between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and WDNR in 2016 led to a goal of 35 MS4 audits per year out of 245 MS4 permitted communities statewide. This goal will result in most communities being audited during the 5-year MS4 permit term. Notification of an upcoming audit is typically given shortly before WDNR staff plan on visiting (approximately 2 weeks).