Stormwater originates above ground through precipitation (rain fall, snow melt) or from overwatering. Stormwater is the excess water that does not soak into the ground but rather enters the storm sewers, which lead directly to our lakes, rivers, and streams.

Anything that enters the storm sewer system enters our natural waters.

Stormwater is of concern for two reasons.

Flooding - when large volumes of water enter the storm sewer system at once, it could result in flooding.

Pollution - When water travels over the ground, it picks up materials which enters our lakes, rivers, and streams. Chemical pollutants (oil, pesticides, fertilizers) can directly kill plants and fish in the water. Organic pollutants (soil, grass clippings, leaves) can choke out sun light and reduce oxygen in water, resulting in algae blooms and fish kills.

What can we do to reduce and clean up stormwater entering our natural waters????

For more information on practices that reduce stormwater pollution visit the North Central Wisconsin Stormwater Coalition

Subjects under Stormwater Management:

  • Identify & report spills and contaminations
  • Modify household practices
  • Modify lawn care practices 

If you see a spill into or near a storm sewer or water body,

call the DNR Spill Hotline:  1-800-943-0003 or #367 (cellular)

Dumping anything into a storm sewer can harm the local waters. Automobile oil, household hazardous waste, paint will harm local lakes and streams. When disposing of these materials, please dispose of them at your local hazardous waste facility.

Even though soil, grass clippings, and leaves are natural materials, they can also hurt local lakes and rivers.  Yard waste contributes nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which cause unwanted and uncontrolled growth of algae and aquatic weeds. Soil can clog spawning areas for fish. 

Recycling yard waste reduces the need for fertilizer, reduces lawn maintenance, and is better for the environment. 

Grasscycling is leaving grass clippings on the lawn to decompose rather than removing them from the site.  When you mow regularly, clippings quickly decompose and release nutrients to fertilize the lawn.   

Composting is another way to utilize both yard and household waste.  It takes about 10-20 minutes per week, uses a small amount of yard space and provides us with a opportunity to get rid of something we have so much of (kitchen scraps and yard debris) and create something of greater value (compost). Compost bins and kitchen pails are available through the Marathon County Solid Waste Department. 

Overuse of fertilizers or pesticides cause stormwater to pick up the chemicals from the soil and carry them directly to lakes and streams.  These chemicals can kill aquatic plants and animals.  Always follow label instructions and do not overuse!  Slow release fertilizers are less likely to be carried into streams than quick-release fertilizers.  When possible, use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.  IPM uses chemical (pesticide), biologic (natural predators of pests), and organic (compost) materials to control pests. 

How to care for your lawn in the most environmentally friendly way

If you still would rather have grass clippings and other yard waste removed from the site, there are several yardwaste collection sites in the area, or check with your waste hauler for their policy on yard waste removal.  Whatever you do, do not dispose of the waste in the storm sewers!

Below is a list of local yard waste collection sites:

City of Mosinee

City of Schofield

City of Wausau

Village of Kronenwetter

Village of Rothschild

Village of Weston

Town of Rib Mountain