Stormwater Management

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Historically, storm sewer system's primary function was to remove the rainwater from the streets. The water enters catchbasins, like the one shown below, which are connected to undeground piples. The peipes then transport the water to the Mississippi River and other local bodies of water. (The water does NOT go to the wastewater treatment plant.)

Today, the storm sewer system is also used to protect the environment. The City of La Crosse, local businesses and some homeowners, have been installing structural devices such as detention ponds, bio-filters and rain gardens to remove sediment and nutrients from the storm runoff before it enters the Mississippi. The City and Utility also have staff clean manholes and perform street sweeping activities, leaf pick up and clean catch basins to keep the water entering the waterways clean from trash and debris thrown in the streets.

Goals of the Stormwater Utility

  • Slow down water flow
  • Lessen soil erosion
  • Encourage runoff's infiltration into the ground
  • Reduce the amount of stormwater that reaches the river, lakes and streams
  • Keep pesticides, oil and other pollutants off the ground where they can be washed away

Responsibilities of the Stormwater Utility

  • Repair and maintain the City's storm sewer system to assure stormwater drainage
  • Comply with Federal and State Regulatory standards
  • Improve stormwater runoff quality
  • Protect the bodies of water receiving the City's stormwater runoff


  • Retention basins
  • Stormsewer mains and culverts
  • Catch basins/ inlets
  • Stormsewer manholes
  • The Pammel Creek storm

Permit to Discharge

WDNR Permit to Discharge under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System

The City of La Crosse has applied and been granted the NR216 WPDES Storm Water Permit. This permit regulates the discharges from the City of La Crosse to the local watersheds, such as the Mississippi River, from the City's storm sewer system that may consist of runoff from rain events or snow melt and fluids from spills or illicit connections. The permit requirements are intended to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the state through management and treatment of urban stormwater runoff.