Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Report Pollution Entering Storm Drains or Waterways

In Dane County, anything that enters our storm drains eventually makes its way through the storm sewer system to our lakes, rivers, and streams. When debris, trash, chemicals, paint or other substances are placed in our streets, storm drains or drainage ways it is the same as dumping it straight into our waterways. During rain storms only rain should enter the storm drain. If it’s not raining, nothing should be washing down storm drains or into area waters

To prevent water pollution from threatening our waters, Dane County passed an illicit discharge ordinance in 2021. An illicit discharge is any discharge of a potentially polluting substance directly or through stormwater that reaches a municipal storm sewer, drainage way, wetland, waterbody or groundwater. This ordinance prohibits illicit discharges and aims to prevent and eliminate illegal discharges. The ordinance also gives Dane County enforcement authority.  

Examples of potential water pollution or illicit discharges:

  • Cleaning paint containers or brushes outside
  • Grease or other substances leaking from a dumpster
  • Oil, chemical spills
  • Concrete washout water draining from a construction site

Dane County and local municipalities are asking residents and local businesses for help reporting potential pollution to our waters. If you see something other than rain or snowmelt draining into a storm drain or into a local waterway, please report it using the form below or by calling our office (608) 224-3730.

To report spills or discharges that require immediate attention during non-business hours (4:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.) or weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), please contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 24-hour Emergency Hotline at 1-800-943-0003.

Everyday Actions You Can Take to Project Our Waters