Owner communities play an important role in preventing pollution
A primary goal of the District’s pollution prevention work is to avoid the need for expensive facility upgrades to remove pollutants of concern. As an owner community, you can assist the District in its pollution prevention efforts by minimizing pollution in municipal buildings, encouraging local businesses to enact municipal pollution prevention measures, and educating residents about what they can do to reduce pollution.
Following are some specific steps your municipality can take to minimize pollutants coming into the sewer system.
Educate residents about steps they can take to reduce water softener salt and road salt.
- Distribute the District’s home salt reduction brochure to your residents through the mail or make it available in municipal buildings.
- Encourage residents to check the efficiency of their home water softeners using the District’s water softener self-screen tool.
- Direct residents to learn more from our partner, Wisconsin Salt Wise.
Improve municipal water softeners to minimize salt discharges to the sewer system.
- To incentivize chloride reductions, the District provides financial incentives for projects that reduce chloride contributions to the sewer system.
- Review ideas for projects that can identify and reduce sources.
Train municipal crews in winter maintenance best practices.
- The City of Madison offers classes as part of its certification program for winter maintenance professionals. These are open to both public and private entities.
Create and enact a winter maintenance policy that incorporates best practices for salt and other ice melt application.
- Policies help set expectations and change norms around what clearing pavement should look like. Wisconsin Salt Wise offers example policies.
Test municipal groundwater supply wells annually.
- Because chloride impacts drinking water, the District’s Sewer Use Ordinance Section 4.7.2(b) requires communities to test all public wells annually and report the finding to the District.
Report your community’s salt-reduction efforts.
- The District’s Sewer Use Ordinance Section 4.7.2 (a) and (c) seek information about what actions owner communities are taking to reduce chloride sources. Items (a) and (b) should be reported annually, by March 1, for the preceding year. Part (c) (deicing activities reported with MS4 reporting) may be sent at the same time to the District but is only required at the same frequency and at the same time that a report is submitted to WDNR.
- Use our online form to report your municipality’s annual chloride reduction efforts. Download this checklist before starting the form to ensure you have the necessary documents and information as the form does not save progress.
- Minimize or eliminate mercury in municipal buildings, developing and implementing a mercury minimization plan if necessary. Label any remaining mercury-containing materials, such as boiler switches, to help ensure they are properly disposed of when replaced.
- Educate residents and businesses in your community about the proper disposal of mercury-containing household products, such as by directing them to Dane County Clean Sweep and WDNR’s procedures for spill cleanup.
- Promote the use of MedDrop for disposal of unused household medications.
- If your community does not have a MedDrop box, you can establish a collection box in your police department or host medication collection events in your community. The Wisconsin Department of Justice funds statewide drug takebacks twice a year and coordinates with local law enforcement agencies to implement these events.
- Businesses and institutions can find resources for safe disposal of non-household pharmaceutical waste on the WDNR website.
- Conduct an inventory of products and have your internal environmental health and safety team review the safety data sheets (SDS) for PFAS. If there is ambiguity or you are unsure, ask your supplier. If products do contain PFAS, inquire if alternative, PFAS-free products are available.
- Properly dispose of any PFAS-containing products that are no longer being used; do not flush them or dump them down the drain. There are waste disposal contractors that can assist with the destruction of PFAS-containing products.
- If your processes use PFAS and discharge to the sanitary sewer is required, consider collecting a sample of the effluent to determine if pretreatment is required. There are systems available that can be installed to greatly reduce the amount of PFAS entering our wastewater system.