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Contact: Public Works


phone: 785-229-3631


What is Stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that “runs off” of impervious surfaces, across the

land instead of seeping into the ground. This runoff usually flows into stormdrains, culverts, and ditches

ending up in local streams, creeks, and rivers. The runoff is not treated in any way before it enters local


About Ottawa’s Stormwater Program

Management of stormwater runoff has been an increasingly important responsibility for local governments.

Recently enacted Federal and State regulations, combined with aging drainage infrastructure, has resulted in local governments like Ottawa developing and implementing more comprehensive stormwater management programs. Water running along curbs or in culverts and into storm drains, flows untreated into our local streams, rivers, and lakes. Keeping them clear of debris, chemicals, and other pollutants will improve Ottawa’s water quality.


You may notice a button at the top of the page labeled “Stormwater GIS Map.” In an effort to increase the public’s awareness about how stormwater is directed within the city limits, a map is being provided to the public. This information can be used for purposes like educating our youth and reporting illicit discharges. The map includes information about the waterways that receive stormwater as it flows through Ottawa. The waterways marked in yellow are considered impaired waters under the Clean Water Act 303(d) list. For Wilson Creek, Rock Creek, and Marais des Cygnes, the pollutant that is causing the impairment is Bacteria (E. coli).”


What You Can Do To Help

Stormwater is runoff from rain and snowmelt. The City has a system of storm drains and ditches to collect this runoff and discharge it to our local creeks and river. Stormwater that flows from driveways, rooftops, and across our lawns eventually picks up debris, dirt, chemicals from yards, even dog waste, and flows into the City stormdrains. This water eventually works its way into our water supply. Protecting our water before it drains into our water supply system is the first step to success! 

  • Take hazardous household chemicals, such as cleaning supplies, used motor oil, paint, and spray cans to the Franklin County Hazardous Waste Facility.

  • Use lawn chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides by manufacturer specifications.

  • Plant native plants and gardens that need less yard maintenance.

  • Pick up after your pets and dispose of their waste properly.

  • Washing your vehicle at a commercial car wash helps reduce the amount of detergent and chemicals entering the storm drain. If you want to wash your car at your residence, washing the vehicle in your yard or grassy area will help capture those pollutants 

If you know of any illegal dumping in the area, there are several ways to contact the City. You can report any violation on a confidential basis by filling out the Illicit Discharge Complaint Form You may also contact us by email at or by calling 785.229.3631


Are you planning construction activities that will disturb at least 1 acre of land?

A Land Disturbance Permit (LDP) is required for any land disturbance of one acre or more per Ottawa’s Municipal Code Chapter 14 Article III. Land disturbance includes any activity that changes the physical conditions of landform, vegetation, and hydrology, creates bare soil, or otherwise may cause erosion or sedimentation. Activities include, but are not limited to: clearing, grading, excavating, removal of vegetation, stripping, grubbing, filling, logging, and storing of materials. Any new development or redevelopment that cumulatively disturbs one acre or more, must also obtain a LDP.

Please contact us at 785-229-3631 or with your plans before initiating work. The City has provided a guidance document Land Disturbance Permit Worksheet to aid in determining whether a LDP is required. If your activities quality for a Land Disturbance Permit, please submit an application and follow the submittal instructions. Click here for an online fillable pdf (please save the document before filling out and submitting). Another option is to click here to print the form .


Please be aware that Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) also has requirements for construction activities that will disturb 1 acre or more of land. More information can be found on their website Construction Stormwater Program | KDHE, KS


Post Construction Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual

The City of Ottawa adopted a manual for stormwater best management practices. The document linked below is primarily for use of contractors and developers. The water quality storm for Ottawa is 1.2 inches (City of Ottawa Post Construction Storm Water BMPs Manual April 2009)


Find Out More


Stormwater Utility

The Stormwater Utility Fee was adopted by the City of Ottawa in March 2012 with an effective date of January 2013. These funds are being implemented to cover the stormwater management program and state permit compliance. The management program includes a wide array of benefits to the public like: infrastructure improvements and maintenance, public education events for all ages, support of public participation activities, pollution prevention trainings, illicit discharge detection and elimination, water quality improvement, and much more. More information can be found in the Stormwater Utility Brochure.


The utility fee is collected from residential and non-residential properties receiving City utility services. Properties are assessed using the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) method. The ERU is calculated by taking the average size of residential properties in Ottawa which is 2,600 sq. ft., so one ERU equals 2,600 sq. ft.. All residential properties are defined as 1 ERU and pay a flat fee of $4 per month. This fee is included on the monthly utility bill. Non-residential properties (including businesses, industries, schools, churches, and other non-profit entities) are assessed based on their total impervious area. Impervious areas on a property do not allow water to be absorbed into the ground. The total impervious area is divided by the ERU (2,600). See the example calculation for a non-residential property below:


Building: 50,000 sq. ft. 

Parking Lot:10,000 sq. ft.

Total: 60,000 sq. ft.

 60,000 / 2,600= 23.1 ERU 

 23.1 ERU * $4.00= $92.40 /month 


Additional information about the Stormwater Utility is available:

Stormwater Utility Brochure

Stormwater Utility Credit Outline

Stormwater Utility Credit Application

Introduction to Rain Barrels

Storm Drain
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