Houlton (MS4) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System

More than two hundred municipalities in Wisconsin that include cities, villages, towns and counties within urbanized areas are required to have Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits under NR 216, Wis. Administration Code . More information is available at  Wisconsin DNR Munical Storm Water Permits

Public Involvement and Participation Requirements:

  • To meet the requirements of Section 2.2 of the general permit, 
  • the Town must also develop and implement a public involvement and participation program. 
  • This program must notify the public of activities required for the MS4 permit and encourage input and participation from the public regarding these activities.


  •  The Town will conduct a minimum of one public meeting per year that focuses on storm water management as it relates to the Town’s MS4 permit. 
  • This meeting can be held in conjunction with a Town Board meeting or as a separate meeting. The meeting will provide information relevant to the MS4 and will offer an opportunity for the public to provide input as to how the Town is implementing the MS4 permit requirements.
  • The Town Festival and other community events may be used as an additional opportunity to engage the public to participate in the MS4 activities.
  •  For more information see this Wisconsin DNR page Municipal Storm Water Permits


Information for the Land Owner of 1+ Acres in the MS4

The DNR’s construction site permit requires landowners to install practices to help decrease the amount of sediment that pollutes Wisconsin’s waterways from construction projects. Land disturbance during a construction project exposes bare soil which can erode during storm events. Practices help decrease the amount of sediment that runs off during a storm event. 

Landowners of most construction projects where one or more acres of land will be disturbed must submit an application called a Water Resource Application for Project Permits (WRAPP) (equivalent to a DNR storm water Notice of Intent or NOI) to request coverage under the Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-S067831-5 [PDF] A landowner is any person holding fee title, an easement or other interest in the property that allows the person to undertake land disturbing construction activity on the property. 

 Understanding Storm Water & How to Manage It 

(Reference: EPA 833-B-03-002 After the Storm – A citizen’s guide to understanding storm water, www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater) 

Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snow melt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. Heavy rains or snow are not needed to send pollutants rushing towards streams, wetlands, and lakes. A garden hose, alone, can supply enough water. Contrary to popular belief, most storm sewers do not carry storm water to waste water treatments plants. Storm and sanitary sewers may be combined in some older communities.

Storm water becomes a problem because it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flows into a storm sewer system or directly into a lake, stream, river, or wetland. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged, untreated, into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.

The effects of untreated storm water runoff (or pollution) are many, and adversely effect plants, fish, animals, and people.

• Sediment can cloud water, making it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow and can destroy aquatic habitats.

• Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low, dissolved oxygen levels

• Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.

• Debris – plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts – washed into water bodies -- can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.

• Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.

• Polluted storm water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatments costs.