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Setting New Standards: Dane County Stormwater Management Ordinance Takes Effect Today

For more information contact:

Sue Jones 267-0118
Sharyn Wisniewski 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/22/2002

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane is the only Wisconsin County to Protect Lakes, Rivers and Streams with County-wide Standards to Improve Water Quality and Reduce Runoff from Development

Today, Dane becomes the first Wisconsin County to protect lakes, rivers and streams from stormwater runoff caused by new developments that have large areas of hard surfaces, such as parking lots, roofs and driveways.

Rain water or melting snow that washes off parking lots and other hard surfaces picks up a smorgasbord of pollutants –oil, grease, chemicals, pet waste, sediment – and carries it directly to lakes and streams, leading to algae blooms and damage to sensitive aquatic ecosystems.

The county’s new Stormwater Management Ordinance requires stormwater runoff plans to be part of any development that creates 20,000 square feet (about 1/2 acre) or more of hard, impervious surface.

“Stormwater runoff from urban and rural areas is the single biggest pollutant of our lakes and streams,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “Controlling this runoff was a top priority in Design Dane, my first land use plan,” said Falk. “Today, thanks to the hard work and cooperation of developers, builders, conservationists, County board members, local government officials and County staff, I am pleased that an ordinance to do just that becomes a reality here in Dane County.“

Dane County’s stormwater management ordinance is also unique in requiring a temperature control on water running off of sites in an effort to reduce thermal pollution, which hurts cold-water trout streams.

It applies everywhere in the County – villages, cities and towns – and local governments can opt to either administer the standards themselves or have the County do it. Developers must obtain a permit and be subject to site inspection.

Water Management Coordinator Sue Jones emphasized that the ordinance sets standards for landowners to meet, rather than mandating what practices they must use.

“We recognize that each site and every project is unique,” she said. “We want to give landowners the opportunity to choose those practices that are best suited to a particular site and budget. There are many effective techniques to reduce the quality and improve the quality of stormwater runoff. As long as developers are able to meet the standards the ordinance sets, we are happy to work with them on how they choose to do it,” said Jones.

Some runoff and erosion control methods include installing buffer and filter strips, grassy swales, deep tilling, planting trees and native plants, installing oil and grease filters, and sediment traps.

Dane County’s ordinance was passed last year by the Dane County Board by a 38-1 margin.

During the year-long phase in, county staff:
-- Gave technical assistance to local communities to ease implementation of the ordinance
-- Developed a best practices manual that provides detailed and hands-on information about different stormwater management techniques
-- Produced a “model ordinance” to make it simpler for local governments to get the standards onto their books, and
-- Held both workshops and individual meetings with local elected officials and staff, engineering firms, builders and others to walk through any questions or problems they might have.

The stormwater standards complement the County’s existing construction site erosion standards. Developers, landowners or others who have a project big enough to be subject to the ordinance, must file a plan with the County or appropriate local government indicating how the project will meet the standards. Once the plan is reviewed and approved, builders must follow that plan or face penalties and possible work stoppages.


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(See below for area developments using stormwater management practices)

AREA DEVELOPMENTS WITH STORMWATER PRACTICES THAT MEET THE DANE COUNTY STANDARDS GOING INTO EFFECT ON AUGUST 22

Development: Kwik Trip
Location: Intersection of Main St. and Ruby Lane, City of Sun Prairie
Contact regarding stormwater practices: Chuck Fronk (608-792-2841 (cell), 800-658-9012 X 938 (office))

The existing site was a commercial rental business, and is being redeveloped into a Kwik Trip. Practices here include a series of rock infiltration trenches within the landscaping, that trap oil and grease runoff, store stormwater to meet the rate control requirements, and infiltrate water into the ground.

Development: Kohls/Borders Commercial Redevelopment
Location: Intersection of Midvale & University, Village of Shorewood Hills
Contact regarding stormwater practices: Flad Development, Steve Hoff, Vice President at 833-8100

A 9-12 acre redevelopment that meets all the stormwater requirements of the Dane County ordinance, even though it was largely completed before the county requirements went into effect.

Practices include: 18-20 areas of porous pavement near storm drain inlets in the parking lots. These trap sediment, oil and grease in the porous spaces in the pavement, leaving behind these pollutants, so that the water flowing into the storm drain and into Lake Mendota is clean. This redevelopment also minimized the amount of impervious surface, leaving more landscaped areas for water to infiltrate into the ground and not run off the site.

Development: St. Francis Addition Subdivision
Location: End of Brewery Rd, Village of Cross Plains
Contacts regarding stormwater practices: Ron Steiner, engineer (608-742-2169)
Dan Heffron, developer (cell 608-963-6021, office 800-374-1125)

Practices in this development meet all relevant Dane County standards, even though it was developed before they went into effect. Practices include:
-- infiltration areas in boulevard (depressed grass swales) that meet water rate control, thermal, and sediment requirements
-- narrower streets mean less impervious areas (hard surfaces that don’t allow water to soak into the ground), and less runoff
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