Background Information

An overview of the utility is available in the Stormwater Utility Information brochure available online and at City Hall.

As part of the 2009 Annual Budget, the Common Council decided on November 18, 2008 to create a Stormwater Utility in 2009.

Stormwater Utilities are not uncommon around Wisconsin, but it is something new to the City of Milton. The utility operates much like the City’s current water and sewer utilities, which charge users to fund a specific purpose and service.

When water drains from grassy areas or hard surfaces it collects pollutants, such as soil particles, bacteria, pesticides, litter, fertilizer, pet waste, oil, and auto fluids. These materials flow with stormwater runoff into the City’s storm sewers, which lead for the most part into holding basins and seep into the ground water system. These underground systems are interconnected with larger local bodies of water, such as Storrs Lake and the Rock River.

In Wisconsin, the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is responsible for carrying out new federal regulations handed down as part of the Clean Water Act and other governmental actions. As one might suspect, the DNR then mandates that local communities implement activities to achieve compliance with the broader regulations. In addition to the City's current stormwater control practices, the City must now keep even more pollutants from the stormwater runoff. In other words, the City must change the way it deals with stormwater.

As part of new stormwater management requirements, the City will be responsible for a number of different things, including:
  • Meet regulation requirements by obtaining stormwater discharge permits.
  • Reduce/monitor pollutants in runoff.
  • More closely monitor construction sites for compliance with new regulations.
  • Monitor the stormwater system for illegal connections and discharges.
  • Update and enforce stricter stormwater ordinances that deal with debris being placed in the streets, and wastes (such as oil) being dumped into the storm sewers.
  • Inform the public on how they can help reduce stormwater pollution.
  • Maintain and replace aging or unsuitable storm sewer systems, including City-owned detention basins.

Long story short, the City will need to increase funding to meet these new requirements. That is where a Utility comes into play. A stormwater utility fee is seen by many Wisconsin communities as being more fair because each parcel shares the cost of the services based upon their use of the utility. Therefore, all properties (including tax exempt properties, like school buildings, churches and not-for-profit facilities) will share in the cost of the utility.