Funding Available to Improve the Quality of Urban Stormwater

February 21, 2006
Sue Jones (267-0118)
Land & Water Resources

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Brett Hulsey announced today funding available to municipalities for improving the quality of urban stormwater entering Lakes Mendota, Monona, Wingra, and Waubesa. In the 2006 Dane County capital budget, $100,000 was allocated for a cost-sharing program to improve old storm drain outlets that dump untreated stormwater and litter into the Yahara Lakes. This is double the amount allocated in 2005, which was the first year and a pilot program. The County funds are to be matched with municipal matching expenditures. "I am pleased to again be able to partner with cities and villages to retrofit stormwater outfalls in need of improvement. We all have a stake in protecting our lakes and streams," said Falk. "One of the best ways to clean up our lakes is to clean up the hundreds of uncontrolled sewers that dump pollution into our lakes," said Supervisor Brett Hulsey, chair of the Lakes and Watersheds Commission. "Dane County is happy to work with local governments to clean up this pollution source to make our beaches safer for swimming and cut weed growth in our lakes." An analysis completed for the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Project showed that several stormwater outfalls contributed very high loads of sediment and phosphorus to the lake: up to 89 tons/year of sediment and 363 lbs/year of phosphorus. Just for comparison, 89 tons of sediment would fill about eight dump trucks. And, for every pound of phosphorus added, 500 pounds of wet algae can be produced. “This initiative was part of a Clean Water Fund created by the Dane County Board and Lakes and Watershed Commission to support several pilot projects to clean up our lakes and streams,” said Hulsey. The Dane County Land Conservation Committee and Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission recently approved criteria for the program. Financial assistance is available up to 50% of the total cost of construction of best management practices (not to exceed $35,000) that will provide efficient, cost-effective treatment of urban runoff. In order to be considered for funding, practices must be constructed and fully functional by the end of 2006 and drain to Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Wingra, or Lake Waubesa. Additional funding for urban catchment basins (70% state cost share) may be available under the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Program. “There are 162 uncontrolled stormwater outfalls that empty into Lake Mendota alone,” said Hulsey. ”Many people don’t know that this water is untreated. Our County Clean Water program and the Lake Mendota project can help ensure that cleaner water flows from these outfalls into our lakes.” Municipal officials in eligible watersheds were mailed copies of the complete eligibility criteria last week. Additional copies of the funding criteria and application information are available from Jeremy Balousek in the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, at 224-3747. # # #