Contact: Hannah Lewis


phone: 785-229-3632


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.


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 our Stormwater Coordinator by email or contact them at 785.229.3632. 


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 City of Ottawa adopted a new Stormwater Utility Fee in March 2012 and is set to go into effect in 2013. This fee was implemented for residential and non-residential properties receiving city utility services. Properties are assessed a fee by the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) method. The ERU is calculated by taking the average size of residential properties in Ottawa; 1 ERU in Ottawa is 2,600 ft2. All residential properties/units are defined as 1 ERU and would pay a flat fee of $4 a month, which will be on the monthly utility bill. 

Non-residential properties (including businesses, industries, schools, churches, and other non-profit entities) are assessed a fee based on their total impervious area (areas on a property where water cannot soak into the ground). This total area is then divided by the ERU. As an example:


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