Elected Officials
Minutes & Agendas
Recycling / Garbage
Contact Us



Best Management Practices for Reducing Stormwater Pollution

Impervious surface reduction 

Reduce of impervious surfaces to increase infiltration & decrease runoff.  As impervious (paved) surface increases, soil infiltration decreases and stormwater runoff increases. 

Figure: Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group

 Rain barrels

A rain barrel reduces runoff by collecting and storing rainwater from your roof.  Most often, a rain barrel is a recycled 55 gallon drum.  Other components may include: vinyl hose, spigot, PVC couplings, and wire screen. 

Reducing runoff is not the only benefit from a rain barrel.  Collecting water with a rain barrel provides a free source of “soft water” to homeowners.  Rain water contains no chlorine, lime, or calcium that is common in municipal water supplies.  Over a growing season, a rain barrel can help to significantly reduce your water bill!

                                                                            Image: Low Impact Development Center

For more information on rain barrels:

·        Rain Barrel Guide

·        Center for Watershed Protection: How to Build and Install a Rain Barrel

  Rain garden

Rain gardens can be used instead of or in conjunction with a rain barrel to further reduce runoff from your property.  Rain gardens are sunken planting beds that can hold runoff from your roof, driveway, and lawn.  They can also hold the overflow from a rain barrel during a heavy or long rain event.  

                                                                                                    Figure: Cornell University

For more information on rain gardens:

·        UW Extension: Rain Gardens: A household way to improve water quality in your community

·        Wisconsin DNR: Wisconsin Native Plants for Rain Gardens

Lawn Care

Careless or over-fertilizing lawns and gardens leads to phosphorus rich soils in urban areas.  During rain events, phosphorus is washed into storm drains and ends up directly in our lakes and streams.

Every fertilizer regimen should begin with a soil test.  A soil test will tell you exactly what is lacking and help you tailor your fertilization and prevent over-fertilization. 

Fertilizers come in a variety of combinations, and it is possible to get phosphorus-free fertilizers. Since most lawns are phosphorus rich, it is a great option to reduce phosphorus concentrations in our rivers and lakes.

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn prevents extra labor to dispose of clipping and adds extra nitrogen to the soil.  After fertilizing or mowing, sweep hard surfaces toward your lawn or garden instead of the storm drain.  This will prevent unnecessary nutrients from getting into the municipal stormwater sewer system. 

If a fertilizer regimen is necessary, start it in the fall.  Fall fertilization promotes root growth and will result in not only a healthier lawn, but a more drought tolerant one as well.  Starting a fertilization regimen in the spring will promote leaf growth, which leads to increased lawn-mowing and unnecessary stress on the root system.

For more information on lawn care:

·        UW Extension: Rethinking Yard Care

·        UW Extension: Lawn & Garden Fertilizers