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County Executive's Office

County to Award Communities Nearly Half Million in Grants to Address Urban Runoff Pollution

June 22, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive

Six Projects Across the County Estimated to Remove More Than 63 Tons of Pollutants From Lakes Annually


Dane County is partnering with local communities, awarding them nearly a half million dollars in grants to reduce urban runoff pollution that fouls our lakes, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.  The selected communities include Madison, McFarland, Sun Prairie, and the Village of Shorewood Hills. 


Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, a half dozen pipes that directly pump stormwater into our lakes will be reconstructed through the county’s Urban Water Quality grant program. 


Once complete, the projects will prevent over an estimated 63 tons of trash and sediment from entering lakes and streams every year and 376 pounds of algae causing phosphorus.  Every pound of phosphorus removed from the watershed prevents 500 pounds of algae from forming.

“Runoff from our streets and neighborhoods is part of the challenge facing our lakes and through partnerships like this county grant program, we’re keeping pollutants out of our waters”, said Parisi.  “These Urban Water Quality Grants will enable our municipalities to bolster their ongoing work to reduce water pollution, and keep phosphorus-filled debris from fouling our lakes and streams.”  


The county’s grant program seeks to improve the quality of urban runoff that enters area waterways and urban stormwater management practices through partnerships and public education. 


The grants will help build stormwater sediment basins to capture trash and phosphorus-laden debris such as yard or pet waste  from urban areas that otherwise wash directly into lakes and streams when it rains.  The basins capture the debris by giving it an area to ‘settle out’, preventing it from entering the water, and allowing for their safe disposal at a later time.


“These improvements will improve our lakes and streams for years to come,” said County Board Chair Scott McDonell.  “These grants are a central element to our efforts to clean up our lakes and reduce runoff that causes flooding.”


“Clean water is important to all of us, and we all have a role to play in cleaning up our lakes, streams, and rivers,” said Melissa Malott, Chair of the Lakes and Watershed Commission.  “Many Dane County farmers are working to prevent phosphorus run-off from leaving their fields, and this announcement demonstrates the resources urban residents are putting into preventing phosphorus run-off from being washed off city streets and lawns. It’s exciting to see this commitment coming from people across our watershed.”

The announcement was made at Lakeview Park in Middleton, where the County Executive and local officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a newly completed stormwater sediment basin in Lakeview Park.  The Middleton project was an early recipient of the county’s Urban Water Quality grant and will remove an estimated 24,800 pounds of trash and sediment annually.  In addition to funds from the City of Middleton and the county, the Clean Lakes Alliance contributed $50,000 to the project.


"As an alliance of local residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations we know that these water quality grants will help improve our local lakes for boating, fishing and swimming; providing summertime fun for generations of Dane County kids,” said Don Heilman, President of the Clean Lakes Alliance.


A resolution authorizing the county to provide these grants to communities was introduced at Thursday night’s county board meeting.  Final approval of the projects could occur as early as this summer.


Since 2005, the county’s Urban Water Quality grants have helped fund projects totaling more than $5.3 million dollars and are estimated to have removed 462,187 pounds of debris and more than 762 pounds of phosphorus.


Financial assistance is still available to municipalities in the form of cost sharing up to 50% percent of the total project cost, not to exceed $100,000.  To be considered for later phases of funding, applicants must submit projects that will provide efficient, cost-effective treatment of urban runoff and will be constructed and fully functional by the end of 2013. 


Funding criteria and application information are available online at:, and from Jeremy Balousek in the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, 608.224.3747.


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