Pleasant Prairie Clean Water Utility FAQ's




What does Clean Water Utility do?
What if the Clean Water Utility didn't exist?
Why did the ERU increase this year?
Can we limit fees?
Are there any exemptions?
What can I do to lower the impact I have on storm water?
Why are we talking about storm water runoff?
What is an impervious surface?
Where does the money go?
Why do we need a clean water utility?
How is the utility funded?
Frequently Asked Questions Video


What does Clean Water Utility do?

The utility collects fees to fund capital projects for improving the quality storm water conditions. The utility also funds daily operations to maintain current infrastructure, pays for the equipment needed to maintain the infrastructure and funds the employees who maintain and clean the storm water system. The utility also puts money into a fund to replace storm sewers and road culverts over time as they deteriorate.
Back to Top

What if the Clean Water Utility didn't exist?

The average residential home in the village will pay $36 per year to the Clean Water Utility. If the Clean Water Utility was not created the Village would still be responsible to fund the state mandate forcing us to address the issues of storm water quality, runoff and management. Without an enterprise utility the village would need to fund operations and capital improvements by increasing the property tax levy. Adding $819,000 to the property tax levy would increase the tax rate by $0.3251 per $1,000 of value. This would increase the property tax on the average valued home in the village by $87.99. An annual utility fee of $36 versus a property tax of $87.99 highlights the benefit of funding through a utility. There is more than $1 Billion of property in the village that is exempt from paying a property tax but not from paying a utility bill.

A separate Clean Water Utility allows the Village to collect money from land owners that are exempt from paying property taxes. As an example, there are many exempt properties in Pleasant Prairie such as churches, the hospital and the power plant but the 63 largest exempt properties pay a combined $87,400 annually to the Clean Water Utility. If the clean water costs were added to your property tax bill, you would be required to pay a portion of their $87,400 fee based on the value of your property.
Back to Top

Why did the ERU increase this year?

2006 was the first year of the Clean Water Utility and the Village Board decided to only fund daily operations and not any capital projects. This could be accomplished with a rate of $1.00 per ERU but generated only enough money to pay for mandated daily operating maintenance of the Utility. The 2016 budget of $4.33 per ERU will fund day to day operating expenses and system maintenance as well as vehicle and equipment replacement, some capital projects, new federally mandated water quality programs, plus initiate a fund to draw on to replace older storm sewer pipes and storm water basins.
Back to Top

Can we limit fees?

Wisconsin Law provides that every utility must base its fees on some measurable benchmark related the function of the utility and be uniform in its application. The Clean Water Utility uses as its benchmark the amount of surface area that creates water runoff together with the amount of water discharged from that surface area. Limiting a utility charge for a large property, or user, would not be basing the charge on how much storm water is being generated and discharged from their property.
Back to Top

Are there any exemptions?

The State of Wisconsin has determined the following land types or uses to be exempt from Clean Water Utility charges:
  1. Agricultural Facilities and Practices as being excluded from coverage under the NR216 permit.
  2. Lakes, ponds, and wetlands as identified by SEWRPC.
  3. Land devoted to an agricultural use for economic gain as described in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).
Village staff will work with property owners that have questions about exemptions. Please call our Public Works Department at 694-1403.
Back to Top

What can I do to lower the impact I have on storm water?

Here are some suggestions on how your family can to limit your impact on our storm water system.
  1. Have your car washed at a car wash.
  2. Dispose of motor oil and other contaminates at an authorized site such as the Prange Center located at 8600 Green Bay Road.
  3. Direct your downspouts into gardens or landscaped areas.
  4. Carefully use only the recommended amounts of fertilizers for your lawn.
While these suggestions will not lower your monthly bill, their practice will help keep our surface water clean.
Back to Top

Why are we talking about storm water runoff?

Uncontrolled storm water runoff from development activity has a significant impact upon water resources and the health, safety and general welfare of our community and diminishes the public use and enjoyment of our natural resources.

Uncontrolled or untreated storm water runoff will:
  1. Degrade physical stream habitat by increasing stream bank erosion, increasing stream bed scour, diminishing groundwater recharge, and diminishing stream base flows.
  2. Diminish the capacity of our streams and lakes to support uses that rely on good water quality, recreational uses, and fish and other aquatic life habitat.
  3. Alter wetland environments by increasing pollutant loads and changing wetland hydrology.
  4. Reduce the quality of groundwater by increasing pollutant loading.
  5. Threaten our public health, safety, property, and general welfare by overwhelming storm sewers, drainage ways, and minor drainage facilities.
  6. Threaten our public health, safety, property, and general welfare by increasing major flood leaks and volumes.
  7. Undermine floodplain management efforts by increasing the incidence and levels of flooding.
  8. Cause excessive infiltration and inflow of storm water into our sanitary sewer system during peak storm events forcing the sewer system to surcharge, overflow, and potentially backup into basements.
Back to Top

What is an impervious surface?

In general terms, an impervious surface is a hardened surface (concrete, rooftop, asphalt, compacted gravel, etc.) that does not absorb storm water. Impervious surface areas cause increased pollutant loading, increased volume and rate of storm water runoff, lower stream base flows, and decreased infiltration of storm water into the soil and availability to plants' roots.
Back to Top

Where does the money go?

The Clean water Utility fee enables Pleasant Prairie to provide a wide variety of services that will improve and protect the quality of storm water, including:
  • Maintenance of Village owned storm water infrastructure
  • Repair and cleaning of catch basins and storm sewers
  • Preserving natural drainage systems such as streams and vegetative buffers
  • Build a Capital Fund to complete projects, replace existing infrastructure
Back to Top

Why do we need a clean water utility?

The requirements of the CWU are a federally mandated program. A clean water utility is a "public enterprise" structure similar to a water and sewer utility. With a utility, the Village will create a user charge that will distribute the cost of storm water management based on how a property generates storm water runoff rather than the assessed value of the property.
Back to Top

How is the utility funded?

The utility is funded by fees collected from all properties, including tax exempt properties, contributing storm water runoff to the storm water management system. The $4.33 monthly Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU) fee per parcel was set by the Village Board for the 2016 budget year. One ERU is equal to the estimated average impervious area of a single family home on a 1/3 acre lot. The fee will be added as part of your monthly Utility bill.
Back to Top

Frequently Asked Questions Video


Back to Top

Other Clean Water Utility Videos

Clean Water Utility Informational Video
Clean Water Utility how it is Funded and a Budget Breakdown Video