April 26, 2006Client Alert

Stormwater Management: Your Municipality May Be Contacting You

Management of stormwater is a key focus of state and federal water quality protection. Industrial operations with the potential to contaminate stormwater, and construction site projects disturbing one acre or more, are required to manage their sites to control erosion and minimize the movement of sediment and contaminated stormwater into waters of the state.

A third component of the stormwater management program will be implemented by municipalities. Under the MS4 program (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System), municipalities serving populations of 100,000 or more and those identified as "urbanized areas" as a result of the 2000 decennial census, are required to apply to DNR for coverage under a General WPDES Permit and to implement the following program components:

  1. Public education and outreach
  2. Public involvement and participation
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  4. Construction site pollutant control
  5. Post-construction site stormwater management
  6. Pollution prevention

This program is just getting underway. DNR is working with the MS4 municipalities to educate them on what they need to do, and those municipalities will be implementing education and outreach programs to educate their residents. The municipalities will be adopting stormwater management and erosion control ordinances, and developing management practices to reduce the volume of solid material that may be washed away from residential, commercial and industrial sites. As a result, you may be hearing from your municipality in the next months and years to explain the program and what your responsibilities may be.

The authority for the MS4 program comes from the federal Clean Water Act Phase II stormwater regulations, which are enforced in Wisconsin by DNR under ch. 283, Stats., and NR 151 and 216, Wis. Admin. Code. Model ordinances for adoption by municipalities are provided in NR 152. The list of municipalities identified as "urbanized areas" is included in NR 216.02(3). The municipal application forms, General WPDES Stormwater Permit for MS4 municipalities and the broadcast of a recent DNR webcast municipal training program are available on the DNR website under Municipal Storm Water Management at

For more information, visit the DNR website at, or contact Linda H. Bochert at 608.283.2271 or

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