Storm Sewer

The Village operates a storm water system separate from the sanitary sewer system, as opposed to a combined system in portions of the City of Milwaukee and Village of Shorewood. Storm water entering the municipal system flows from the catch basins in the street to either the Milwaukee River near the southwest section of the Village or Lake Michigan on the entire eastern border via 6 major outfalls. Storm sewer connections are provided to locations where feasible and appropriate when the road is reconstructed as part of the capital improvement program. During heavy rainstorms, the flow of the sanitary sewer system may back up due to overwhelming volume in the MMSD conveyance, treatment, and deep tunnel system. When MMSD or local sanitary backups occur or reach the Village it is necessary to release the excess sanitary sewage into the storm sewer system through strategically placed and operated bypass locations. This practice is done in an effort to reduce or eliminate basement backups and the health, safety, and financial problems backups cause.

The Village annually works with the DNR to review the past years activities and makes recommendations on the next year to help reduce the effect the discharges have on the water ways they are flowing into. Whitefish Bay is a Phase 2 WPDES storm water discharge permitted community, and undertakes a number of actions in an effort to comply with the permit. Activities include storm sewer cleaning and maintenance, leaf and yard waste collection, street sweeping, road maintenance, clear water compliance, and other efforts. Continued public education along with replacement, and maintenance of the system is needed to continue to limit the negative effects the urban storm water runoff, in partnership with the sanitary sewer system has on the environment.

Urban Polluted Runoff


The Village of Whitefish Bay discharges storm water from its municipal separate storm sewer system under permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The system is fully urbanized, meaning collected runoff water deposits into the storm sewer, which in turn discharges, directly to Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River. Although the Village conducts street sweeping and cleans street inlets and catch basins to remove sediments and some organic material before it can be conveyed to waterways, pollutants still enter the waterways. The primary pollutants found in an urbanized setting are:
  • Sediment from construction sites or landscaping activities, transportation related debris, and industrial fallout.
  • Nutrients, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen, which come from over application or abuse of fertilizers, and organic material on roadways.
  • Oxygen demanding material such as pet waste, leaves, grass clippings, and litter. As these materials decay, they use oxygen needed for aquatic life.
  • Bacteria in runoff are generally sourced from pets, urban wildlife, and illicit sanitary connections or other discharges.
  • Toxic pollutants such as metals, pesticides, and petroleum compounds or their byproducts. Zinc is a common metal that can be traced to rooftops, gutters, and downspouts that are galvanized to prevent corrosion. Metals can also be traced to vehicle traffic deposits, which can contain zinc, cadmium, copper and lead.
You can help prevent urban polluted runoff through these various ways:
  • Take household hazardous materials such as motor oil, antifreeze, oil base painters and thinners, and pesticides to the Household Hazardous Waste sites. (Refer to the Village’s website for information on collection locations).
  • Use kitty litter or other absorbent materials to clean spills. Sweep it up and put it in a sturdy garbage bag and put with your garbage.
  • Water base paints should be dried out completely by opening the can and putting kitty litter in the can. Leave it to dry out for several days, put the can in a sturdy plastic garbage bag and leave with your garbage.
  • Use a broom - rather than a garden hose to remove soil and debris from paved surfaces. Put the debris from the broom in a bag and put with your garbage.
  • Use lawn fertilizers and herbicides sparingly or test soil to determine need. Mulching clippings may provide all the nutrients needed. Choose or request fertilizers with no phosphorus. Sweep and collect any over application left on walks and drives.
  • Pick-up pet waste and put it in the garbage or bury. Please do not dispose of pet waste in the street inlets. Each year the Village removes significant volumes of pet waste from the storm sewer, often still in the plastic bag used to collect it.
  • Except for leaves to be collected, it is unlawful to deposit any material in the street even temporarily. This includes stone, sand, mulch and soil. This material should be placed on lawn surfaces or at a minimum - on a flat portion of your driveway. Please inform contractors doing work that the Village will remove the material at the property owners cost.

Stormwater Utility


The Village Board adopted Ordinance 1795 on July 1, 2013 which created Chapter 19 of the Village of Whitefish Bay Municipal Code establishing a new Storm Water Utility to aid in funding storm water management. Select details of the storm water utility as created under the aforementioned ordinance are described further in the Village of Whitefish Bay SWU User Manual link below.

The Storm Water Utility fee of $100 per year per ERU was established with three rate components:
  • A base charge (BC) was set at an initial rate of $60 per year per ERU. The BC represents a portion of the overall fee that is designed to collect funds towards administrative, operation and maintenance, and some capital costs and is not eligible for credits.
  • An equivalency charge (EC) was set at an initial rate of $40 per year per ERU. The EC equivalency charge represents a portion of the overall fee that is designed to collect funds towards some capital costs and is eligible for credits.
  • A special charge (SC) did not have an initial rate set. The SC is intended to represent a portion of the overall fee that is designed to collect funds towards program costs that are particular to an area or set of customers that are specially benefited and served by a particular facility or service.
The Village Board adopted Resolution 2093 affirming and establishing storm water utility rebates and credits on September 9, 2013 which is also described further in the Village of Whitefish Bay SWU User Manual link below.