Runoff from Missoula properties and streets collect in storm water inlets, flowing directly to our aquifer, rivers, and streams. This runoff can carry pollutants: oil from our cars, fertilizer from our gardens, animal waste, spilled chemicals, trash left on the ground, sediments, and anything else small enough to be picked up by storm water. Together, we are working to reduce these pollutants and keep our rivers and streams safe and clean.
Worried there might be a polluting, illicit discharge in your neighborhood? You can either use the online form or call the general spill reporting number 406-258-4890. Any discharge not comprised entirely of rainfall or snowmelt is illicit and should be reported. Call 911 if reporting an illicit discharge after hours or in the event of a serious hazard to life, property, or environment.
As appropriate we coordinate with other agencies, partnerships, and citizens to:
For the past 10 years, the City has collaborated with the to enforce water quality laws, monitor groundwater cleanup sites, oversee household hazardous waste collection, and more. The community’s unique provides strong protection of Missoula's waterway through the regulation of discharges, such as dry cleaner solvents, as well as the use of street deicers. This partnership continues following the creation of the Storm Water Division because both entities have similar goals but different tasks.
The Storm Water Utility Division also works with educational partners such as and the . We are working together to cultivate and develop our future generations as stewards of Missoula's greatest treasures, our water.
The is managed by Montana DEQ to help ensure water quality, with each major municipality participating. Missoula's MS4 five year permit, effective January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2021 requires the City to have a full-time storm water coordinator, increase hands-on education about storm water pollution and prevention, as well as increase public participation.
The 2017 Annual Report reviews the City of Missoula’s Storm Water Division’s activities for the 2017 MS4 permit year. For a broader look at planned activities see Missoula’s Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). This details local pollutants of concern, their reduction, and mitigation in the City of Missoula. Activities described are in accordance with requirements stated in the MT state General MS4 permit. Provide your comments in this online form or by contacting the Storm Water Division.
Learn about Missoula’s largest Hydrodynamic Separator (HDS). Under the pavers in Caras Park this HDS sits 22ft deep, spinning downtown Missoula’s runoff into a vortex. Learn how seasonal weather increases the HDS’ speed with the volume of water, pulling oil, sediment, and trash to the deeper part of the chamber, allowing clean water to rise up and flow to the outlet next to Brennan’s Wave.
Want to see density and particulate floatables in action? Walk next to Pattee Creek Desiltation Facility and learn how it detains floodwater and clears Pattee Creek from sediments harmful to Missoula’s aquatic habitats.
Know a trail or park with an unpleasant amount of dog waste? It’s not just your shoes you have to worry about. A day's waste from one large dog can contain 7.8 billion fecal coliform bacteria and can cause human diseases like Giardia and Salmonella. If left on the ground these bacteria flow with runoff and enter our rivers and streams. Too much dog waste can lead to algae blooms and contaminated waterways. Help keep Missoula’s rivers and streams clean by scheduling a Dog Waste Pick-up day at your favorite public place.
Out for walk and see some trash? By carrying a trash bag in your backpack you can combat . That tiny piece of plastic you pick up in the park has . Picking up trash here in Missoula helps other communities and international efforts, reducing the amount they have to clean-up and improving their ability to restore aquatic ecosystems. Join our positive and active , working to clean up Missoula public places.
Private properties are a main source of the nutrient and sediment pollution entering Missoula’s storm inlets, streams, and rivers. By planting trees, shrubs, and other nutrient-loving plants along your property you create a natural buffer that will soak up extra chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorus left over from your home and lawn. Learn more about the and . This nutrient-rich material remains useful. Come Autumn, dead leaves from your property's plants are often more nutrient-rich than manure, making them great to use in personal compost bins or to drop off at .
By keeping a well-maintained vehicle you're minimizing the amount of oil you spread around Missoula streets. These types of petroleum leaks are the most common illicit discharge. See below for the complaint types reported to the IDDE Program.
Washing your car frees it of pollutants like oil, fine particles, and sediment. If you can, use a commercial car wash, which often reuse wash water before sending it to a treatment plant. If washing a car at home only use as much water and biodegradable soap as you need. Try washing where the water will drain into gravel or grass, which can help filter the wash water before it gets into the aquifer, storm inlets, rivers, or streams. from the EPA.
The City developed a temporary rate schedule for the storm water utility, and an in-depth rate study began late summer of 2017. When completed, this study will be used to establish a new rate schedule and must be approved by City Council as part of a public process. The preliminary rates are as follows:
As dictated by Ordinance 3580 – MMC 13.27, utility rates cover storm water services for every property and street in Missoula.
Missoula Storm Water Utility rates pay for a complete and comprehensive system of storm water management and drainage services throughout the City, covering three crucial services. First, the rates include costs for maintaining existing storm water infrastructure such as sumps, detention and retention basins, storm water drain pipes, manholes, storm water treatment devices, and drainage ditches (not irrigation ditches). This maintenance helps keep Missoula streets usable and clear of flooding. Second, a portion of the storm water utility rates provide for the Missoula levee system operation and maintenance. In-turn, this helps prevent large-scale flooding and reduces flood insurance rates. Third, utility rates cover the costs of storm water management education as well as programs that work to keep pollutants from entering Missoula’s creeks, streams, rivers, and even groundwater, to ensure clean water for years to come.
Whether someone walks, bikes, rides the bus, or drives in Missoula everyone has a storm water footprint. Vehicles of all types – bicycles, skateboards, motorcycles, buses, cars, and trucks – impact storm water. On our daily errands we all leave residual materials like grease, oil, fuel, particles from brake pads, rubber tires and wheels, dirt, mud, and gravel. All transportation uses leave this residual material on sidewalks, trails, and streets. Additionally, those impervious (hard) surfaces we use have their own impact on storm water, concentrating large volumes of runoff and contributing to overland flow and the watershed's overall cubic feet/second in any given channel. This comes from every property and street.
Beyond transportation, trash from around Missoula is blown to the curbs and gutters before washing down storm inlets to eventually end up in the creeks, streams and rivers of Missoula – the hub of five valleys. The resource we all want to protect.
The 2017 Montana Post-Construction Storm Water BMP Design Guidance Manual provides information to Design Professionals, Contractors, Project Owners, Operators, and Interested Citizens. See Section 1.2 for which chapters are relevant to you. The EPA provides tools to help calculate storm water capital and long-term maintenance costs of individual best management practices (BMPs) and low impact development (LID) techniques. See this EPA factsheet on how designing for storm water can save money, with examples across the nation.
Within City of Missoula limits, construction activities should meet the STD-650 SWPPP Minimum Standard Requirements and expect site inspection frequencies as stated within. See relevant SWPPP permitting and inspection information under this webpage's "Construction Permits" tab.
Concerned traditional construction practices may cause errors in your site's storm water designs? Avoid the most common errors with this EPA-recommended LID Construction Guide.
All projects must be designed by a qualified professional and will be assessed on an individual basis. To help you get started, the City of Missoula provides standard drawings for common storm water facilities. If you have trouble finding a standard drawing or would like to request a standard drawing created for a particular facility, then please contact the Storm Water Division. Commonly asked for Missoula Standard Drawings include:
More questions on which designs will be accepted can be directed to Development Services at (406) 552-6630.
Any construction work where the grade of the lot or parcel is altered more than three feet requires a Grading, Drainage and Erosion Permit, as governed by Ordinance 3580 – MMC 13.27, to be submitted to City of Missoula Development Services for review. Exclusions may apply where the site's original slope is less than 5%. Grading, drainage, and hillside standards for slopes greater than 5% are listed in the Residential Site Plan and Commercial Site Plan checklists. If you require assistance contact Development Services at 406-552-6635.
Any construction activity that results in disturbance of one acre or greater total land area requires additional permit coverage. This total disturbance may include any clearing, excavating, grading, stockpiling earth materials, placement or removal of earth material performed during the construction project. If so, the construction activity’s owner or operator is required to follow the below steps: