Resident Action

It's your turn! Here are some positive household practices that you can do for your environment. By making small, simple changes, you can make a big difference!

For information on Yard Waste Clean-up, the monthly Brush Collection Program, and other Recycling programs in the city, click here and then click the "Public Works Newsletter" link on the left-hand side.

Household Practices
Dumping any wastes into the storm sewer system is not only harmful to the environment, but it is also illegal. Things like used motor oil, gasoline, paints and other chemicals cannot be dumped.To determine your refuse and recycling collection dates, click here.

Many little things you do can have an impact on the quality of our lakes. When you wash your car on concrete, all of that soapy water runs right into our waterways. Cleaning your carpet and power washing your house can also affect our waters if the contaminated water goes down the drain.

Car Washing
Carpet Cleaning
Household Hazardous Waste
Power Washing

Pet Waste
Pet waste can also negatively affect storm sewer systems. When it enters the systems, it increases bacteria and adds to unwanted plants and algae that diminish clean, clear waters. The result of the extra nutrients in the runoff results in stagnant and sludge covered water.

Therefore, pet owners should make sure pet waste is properly disposed of. There are two easy ways to help our storm sewer systems: either flush waste down the toilet or bury it.

Additional Pet Waste information

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lawnmower_m_000Yard Maintenance
Everyone wants a great looking lawn. Yards should be managed properly so that chemicals are not over applied. Too many fertilizers and pesticides added to our lawns can allow those chemicals to be washed off easily. If they enter our storm sewer systems, the excessive nutrients can lead to algae blooms which decrease the water quality. In addition, keep grass clippings and leaves clear of storm drains. They also carry bacteria and extra nutrients that can be harmful to our surface waters. Before buying fertilizer, get a soil test done for your yard to see if you need to fertilize it.

The Perfect Lawn
The Perfect Landscape
Restore Your Shore
Protecting Your Waterfront Investment
Grass Clippings
Lawn Watering
Leaf Collection and Disposal
Snow and Ice Control

Pool and Spa
Dumping water from your pool or spa is harmful to the environment and it is illegal.When pool water is dumped down a storm drain, it goes directly to the lake. Many pools chemicals, such as chlorine, are harmful to the animals and plants that live in our waterways. You can help by dumping your pool water onto the grass or de-chlorinate the water.

Pool and Spa Discharge

Rain Gardens
Homeowners and businesses can participate in the reduction of polluted runoff by planting rain gardens. A rain garden is a shallow area in your yard that is planted with native wetland or wet prairie wildflowers and grasses. Planting these specialized gardens is an infiltration technique. It works by capturing water in a garden that features native plantings, and gives the water a chance to slowly filter into the ground rather than run off into the storm sewer. This is becoming a great way to reduce source pollution, as well as protect the local lakes and streams.

raingarden2_001For FAQ's and step-by-step instructions, check out this UW-Extension Manual .

Other Links:
Sample Rain Gardens
Rain Garden Plant List
Rain Garden Information

Rain Barrels
Rain barrels catch water from your roof that would otherwise go down the storm drain. You can then use the rain you collected to water your plants and lawn, saving you money on your water bill. For additional information, read this NEWSC article.

Storm Drain Stenciling
Storm drain stenciling is a fun, interesting way to increase the community's awareness of stormwater. Learn more about what you can do here!


Get Involved! What You Can Learn, and How You Can Help:
EPA Do's and Don'ts Around the Home
Environmental Protection Agency 
University of Wisconsin Extension
University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
North East Wisconsin Stormwater Consortium 
Renew Our Waters
Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff

Kid's Links:
Polluted Runoff for Kids EPA 
EEK! Environmental Education for Kids (Wisconsin DNR)
Recycle City (Games, Activities, Facts and Graphics) 
Kids Can Help, too!
Water Science for Schools 
Renew Our Waters Kids' Page