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The City of Owatonna Building Inspection Division requires plumbing permits for the installation of Residential and Commercial irrigation systems (lawn sprinklers). These systems will require a final inspection to verify the installation of back-flow prevention devices at the potable water connection, proper pitch of the connection piping for drainage and the location of the backflow preventer for potential of back pressure on the back-flow prevention device (PVB, (SVB) & (RPZ).
** A Plumbing Irrigation system permit fee of $50.00 will be required for all residential installations and $100.00 for all commercial installations. **
A homeowner can install the irrigation system (backflow device, in-ground piping, heads, etc). If not the homeowner, then a licensed plumber is required to install, at minimum, the backflow preventer and potable water connection. The homeowner or a licensed low voltage technology contractor is required to connect any electrical wiring, etc.
The system must comply with the MN State Plumbing Code. MN plumbing code chapter 4715 section 2110 requires one of the following type backflow preventers on lawn, garden or greenhouse sprinkler systems:
Pressure vacuum breaker assembly (PVB):
Spill-proof Vacuum breaker (SVB):
Reduce pressure Zone back-flow preventer assembly (RPZ):
MN State law requires any newly installed system to have automatic rain sensor technology.
Owatonna Public Utilities has a Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention Program that must be followed also. Identification of the backflow preventer, location and annual testing criteria are required to be documented and submitted as part of their program. Please contact the Owatonna Public Utilities for all forms, specifications and documents at 507-451-2480; (fax: 507-451-3695)
Use the Minnesota Polling Place Finder to search for your polling place, districts in your precinct, and candidates on your ballot.
The 2022 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, with federal, state, county, city and school offices on the ballot.
City Map - Wards/Precincts effective August 9, 2022; redistricting was completed using 2020 Census Data.
Statement from Planning and Zoning
The Fire Hall is located at:
107 W Main StreetOwatonna, MN 55060
Our business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
We only accept applications when we are hiring. When we do have an opening, all details of how to apply for the position will be posted in the Employment section.
Yes, the City of Owatonna allows recreational fires. Learn more about recreational fires within the city limits (PDF) and Fire Prevention.
The City of Owatonna has an ordinance that addresses garbage and other public nuisances. See City Ordinance 93.001 for details. To report this property, complete the Nuisance Ordinance Violation Complaint form.
The City of Owatonna has an ordinance that addresses long grass and noxious weeds. See City Ordinance 93.060 for details. To report this property, complete the Weed Ordinance Violation Complaint form.
The City of Owatonna has adopted a Minimum Housing Code which provides the minimum standards that all residential buildings and structures must meet. See City Ordinance 151 for details.
All rental properties in the City of Owatonna must be registered and licensed through the Fire Department. See City Ordinance 115 for details.
You may register your property by filling out the Rental Property License Application . An inspection of the property will need to be scheduled. Once the property passes the inspection and the fees are paid, a license will be issued.
Call the Fire Department at 507-444-2454 to schedule an inspection, or fill out the Rental Property Inspection Request form located in the Rental Property section.
Once the property passes inspection and fees are paid, a new license will be issued. All licenses are valid for two years.
Owatonna Fire Department performs numerous public education events throughout the year.
We take trucks to visit a variety of groups. We have groups that visit the station for a tour. We perform demonstrations on how to use a fire extinguisher. We also do a variety of fire safety talks and can customize our presentation to meet the needs of your group.
Submit the request form to arrange an event. Events such as truck visits and extinguisher demonstrations are weather permitting.
Owatonna Fire Department issues permits for the following systems: sprinkler system, fire alarm system, fire suppression system, and hood system.
Permit Application Forms are located in the Protection Systems section. Fill out the application form for the type of system you are installing and return it, along with 2 sets of plans and permit fees, to the Fire Department.
Owatonna Fire Department issues permits for burning within the city limits. You do not need a permit for a recreational fire. Call us at 507-444-2454.
If you are located outside the city limits, visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website to apply for a burning permit.
The City of Owatonna requires a permit to be obtained for the sale of fireworks within city limits. See City Ordinance 111 for details.
The permit application packet can be found in the Links/Resources section. All forms must be completely filled out and a site plan must be included with the application. Mail application and payment to:Owatonna Fire Department107 W Main StreetOwatonna, MN 55060.
Once received, the application is reviewed by Fire Department staff and then submitted to the City Council for approval.
View the Fire Department Coverage Map (PDF), which shows the fire coverage zones for Owatonna Fire, along with the other fire departments in Steele County.
No. These spaces are being converted to Emergency Operation Centers for Steele County and City of Owatonna.
Bring the items you have picked out to the nearest service desk. Present your Library Card to staff, who will check out the items for you. Alternatively, you can check out books at one of the self-serve kiosks located across from the Check-Out desk in Adult Services.
Take a look at the loan periods and fines for overdue items.
Unless there is a waiting list, items may generally be renewed for one additional Loan Period. Visit My Account to renew items and for other information about your account. If you need assistance or have questions, call 507-444-2460 or ask a librarian. Note that the renewal period begins from the day the items are renewed, not from the due date. Some items can not be renewed because they belong to another library and/or may have been requested by another person. If items are overdue or if you have too many outstanding fines, you will need to contact Library staff for assistance.
An LCD Projector is available for rental at $10 per day. Reservations must be made in advance in person or by calling the Public Library at 507-444-2460.
eBooks that are available for purchase or loan can be downloaded on the spot. If you can download titles to a reader or portable device, you can carry your library with you. Often other features are available such as searching, getting definitions, and making notes within the text.
We are not aware of a single device that lets you buy (or borrow) eBooks from any store (or Library) of your choice. Why is this so? Visit the Pattern Recognition site if you really want to know all of the technical details.
In January, 2011, the Selco regional library system went live with a collection of current and popular fiction and nonfiction, including books for children and teens. These are available through OverDrive, which enables you to borrow eBooks with your library card just as you do other materials. Find more information on the Free eBooks page.
Consumer Reports has rated devices. If you have an Owatonna Public Library card you can go to our subscription at ConsumerReports.org, enter your card number, and search for "e-book readers" (without quotes) in the search box at the top of the screen. Use their spelling of "e-book" and you will see the information pop up immediately. Print copies of Consumer Reports are also available at Owatonna Public Library.
We have online resources to help you find a good book. Or stop by and speak with one of our professional librarians, who would be happy to recommend some good reads!
Start by searching the library catalog for materials by Keyword, Title, Subject, or Author. Once you find an item that interests you, look to see if it is checked-out or available at our library.
DVD, CD, and audiobook collections are located on both first floor Children's Services and second floor Adult Services. Check out our New at Your Library page for lists of DVD titles added each month.
You can browse the latest Paperbacks, Mysteries, and Christian Fiction in the reading room. The rest of the collection is located in adult services.
Browse the research databases, web resources, and online magazines and newspapers the library has in the Databases and Downloads section. Collections of print Reference resources are also available in both first floor children's services and second floor adult services. If you are unable to find what you are looking for, ask a librarian.
We are currently in a partnership with the following insurance companies:
However, be aware that not all policies from each insurance carrier are eligible so call your insurance provider’s customer service number or check with your companies Human Relations department to find out for sure.
You will need to fill out an insurance enrollment packet (you can get this packet from one of the Tennis and Fitness Center Associates). This packet includes an enrollment form, a Direct Deposit Authorization form (and attaching a Voided check, for the account you want your reimbursements sent to, with this form) and having a copy of the drivers license and insurance card of each eligible person who will be participating in the reimbursement program. All this information will be needed before the reimbursement will be set up. The West Hills Tennis and Fitness Center facility manager will submit all the necessary information and will get you set up for the reimbursements.
Once the necessary information is submitted to VANCO services for the direct depositing of you reimbursement, the Direct Deposit Authorization form and Voided Check are locked up at the City of Owatonna’s Finance office.
Typically not, if it is only for a short time period. If many months pass between having a current membership and being expired, your insurance enrollment may be cancelled and then you would need to re-sign-up; otherwise, your information will stay active.
Most insurance policies require that you work out 12 days during a calendar month; however, some only require 8 days (UCARE does not require a minimum number-you are eligible as long as you have a membership). Call your insurance provider’s customer service number or check with your companies Human Relations department to find out.
Each time a member uses the facility that person will check in. A report is processed at the end of each month displaying each person’s usage. Although it is a facility policy to check in when using the facility, it is the member’s responsibility to get checked in so he/she gets credit for working out each day.
You pay the entire membership cost up front (it can be a monthly or yearly package). You will receive your reimbursement at the end of the following month (pending you meet the workout requirements set on your insurance policy). You can receive up to $20 per person, up to 2 people in a household on the insurance policy (eligible participants much be at least 18 years old), your total reimbursement can not exceed the amount you paid for the membership.
Information is submitted to VANCO Services by the West Hills Tennis and Fitness Center manager by the 5th of the month following an eligible insurance month (for example: if we just completed the month of October, the information will be submitted by November 5th). Those insurance participant members who qualified for a reimbursement would have their account direct deposited by the end of the month by VANCO Services (following the example, the October reimbursements would be direct deposited by the end of November).
Yes-You will want your camper to either wear or bring along their swim suit and a towel. Most of the time campers wear their swimsuit under their clothes so they do not need to worry about extra clothes.
Yes-Your camper will want to bring their own bike and helmet. No scooters/skateboards etc.
Yes-scholarships are available, you will need to register in the Park and Rec office.
Teams are randomly split up. We do not separate by school.
If bad weather is in the forecast make sure to check the Parks & Recreation cancellation web page or phone line. If there is bad weather during camp we will take all campers in to the Four Seasons Centre.
Lunch and snack will be provided each day. If your child has a food allergy please let us know or you may pack your own lunch.
A camp t-shirt will be provided for your child, we recommend your child wear comfortable foot wear and shorts/sweatpants. They will also receive a draw string backpack to put any extra clothes (ex-sweatshirt). Safety Camp will provide sunscreen and bug spray for your camper.
Let the Parks and Recreation office know so they can update your registration form. When camp begins check in and out with team counselors.
Call the Parks and Recreation office at 507-444-4321 and they will let your counselor know.
Of course you can still sign them up!
If the situation is life threatening or there is a crime in progress, call 911. If you want to report a crime that has already occurred, report suspicious activity, have a non-emergency situation, or have a question, call 507-451-8232.
The Owatonna Police Department is located with the Pearl Street 911 Center and the Steele County Sheriff’s Office at the Law Enforcement Center. View directions to the department office.
A request can be made in person at the Law Enforcement Center during regular business hours. Regular business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding legal holidays. Requests can also be made in writing via letter or fax to 507-444-0330 at anytime.
Such requests will be processed during regular business hours. Please be advised police reports may not be made available until five business days have passed since the date of the incident. This is to allow for report preparation, transaction, data processing and filing time.
Yes. Fees for copies of reports are as follows:
All copies are black and white, one side of a piece of paper. There is no charge for reports to the victim of crimes against persons.
Fees for electronic copies are as follows:
Once you have completed the required training and received your certificate, you may apply for a gun permit at the Law Enforcement Center. A fee of $100 (cash only) is required at the time of application. For more information on concealed weapons permits, visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.
Level 3 offenders are listed on the Minnesota Department of Corrections website. To find out about non-compliant predatory offenders in the state of Minnesota, visit the BCA website.
No. The Owatonna Police Department does not set a quota on traffic tickets written.
Before a vehicle can be released from impound, the registered owner must provide proof of insurance, current registration and have two valid drivers present. Once these conditions (and any others set by the impounding officer) have been met, the police department will notify the tow company to release the vehicle. Any tow charges and storage fees are the responsibility of the vehicle owner.
Release of property and evidence is by appointment only. In order for property and/or evidence to be returned to you, the investigator or officer responsible for your case must authorize its release. You will need your case number and a valid ID card or driver’s license for items to be released to you.
A representative may also be designated to pick up your property but must present a notarized letter verifying representation. For further details concerning the options available in reclaiming your property, call the Property and Evidence Technician at 507-774-7205.
The Owatonna Police Department has 37 sworn full time officers.
Technically, no, unless the total property damage is $1,000 or more. You do have an obligation to provide your insurance information to the other driver or owner of the property that was damaged. However, the Owatonna Police Department encourages you to report the accident and wait for an officer.
Yes. If you have five or more unpaid parking tickets your vehicle may be towed.
No. The graduated fine system only involves tickets that are issued for 2 or 4 hour parking violations.
If you were the registered owner of the vehicle at the time you received the parking ticket you are responsible for paying the ticket. If you did not own the vehicle when the parking ticket was issued, then it is your responsibility to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to notify them you sold the vehicle. You will continue to receive notices of additional tickets as long as the state shows the title in your name.
Yes. As the registered owner the ticket is your responsibility. Parking tickets can not be cancelled due to the registered owner not being made aware of the parking ticket.
A permit is required when work is done in the public right-of-way or when there is an obstruction in the public right-of-way. The public right-of-way includes:
For more information please refer to the permits page.
A permit is required for this type of work and can be obtained on the permits page.
Contact Gopher State One Call at 800-252-1166.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to determine where the property lines are located. Property iron stakes are placed at the corners of the lot usually at or below grade, and sometimes can be found using a metal detector. The City does not provide surveying services. A list of local land surveyors and drafters is available here. Approximate property lines and dimensions can be found on the Steele County GIS Map.
The City routinely inspects all the pavements within Owatonna before deciding what to do and when to do maintenance. The staff looks for common distresses such as loss of aggregates, cracks, and distortions to help determine what is going on beneath the pavement as well as the surface of the roadway. The distresses are recorded in a database that considers the road conditions, prior maintenance history, and other factors to help determine the most cost-effective treatment and appropriate time to apply the treatment. The City also reviews available funding and other projects in the area that might influence the selection of the roads.
Find this information on the Special Assessments and Improvement Policy page.
If the project disturbance is equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet or involves the construction of a new single family residence then a Grading / ESC Permit is required. You are also required to provide erosion and sediment control / stormwater pollution prevention BMPs during the land disturbing activities.
Planting trees in the right-of-way (boulevard) is done by the City Forestry Division. The City of Owatonna has an list of small and large boulevard trees that are approved for planting. To request a new or replacement boulevard tree, please contact the Public Works Office by email, by phone 507-444-4350, or fill out an online boulevard tree order form.
The City has the responsibility to verify that trees and landscape amenities in the Right-of-Way do not present a hazard to the public. City maintenance crews commonly perform tree trimming maintenance for trees located in the Right-of-Way. Please direct any questions or concerns to Public Works at 507-444-4350 or submit a Public Works Maintenance Request.
Please contact Owatonna Public Utilities at 507-451-2480.
Residents are encouraged to help keep all trees in the community alive and healthy. The City of Owatonna does not have restrictions about cutting down trees on private property unless:
The only way to prevent your ash tree from becoming infested with EAB is to have it treated with an appropriate pesticide. However, this will need to be applied regularly every 1 to 3 years depending on the pesticide used. A better long term solution is to remove the tree and replace with an alternative species. Visit the EAB page for more information.
If you suspect you have found EAB please email the Arrest the Pest Hotline or call 888-545-6684.
Yes, however the Forestry Division manages the occurrence of Dutch Elm Disease on a limited as needed basis.
According to the City of Owatonna’s Snow and Ice Control Policies and Procedures, City crews begin snow and ice control operations when two inches of snow accumulate, when drifting snow causes problems for travelling, when icy conditions affect travel or when road conditions could deteriorate due to peak traffic volumes. Full mainline and cul-de-sac plowing operations begin at various times, depending on the start time and duration of the storm event. Routes and operations are designed to maintain access of emergency vehicles to all areas as a first priority. The plowing of high volume roadways generally occurs first, followed by residential plowing. In general, city roadways are cleared of snow within 8 to 12 hours of the end of the storm events. These guidelines are used to remove snow from streets throughout the city including in the downtown area.
The new downtown streetscape includes raised crosswalks, walkable alleys and curb bump-outs to help achieve the vision for this project to improve accessibility and pedestrian safety. City crews are responsible for clearing snow and ice from these areas. These areas are snow removal crews’ priority and are done periodically throughout each snowfall event.
While the new sidewalk dimensions and surfaces are different from the former ones, the area that downtown merchants must shovel remains the same – straight out from storefronts to the curb. In areas where planters have been installed, merchants are responsible for removing snow and ice from around all sides of the planters adjacent to their storefronts. In the 200 block while barricades remain, the construction contractor will help with removing snow from sidewalks.
You may request an investigation of mailbox damage with the Public Works Department by contacting 507-444-4350 or submit a Public Works Maintenance Request. Find more information regarding mailbox damage issues here.
Downtown merchants can shovel snow from the surface abutting their property onto the street where City staff will remove it. This should be done as soon as possible after snowfall events and prior to when City staff plows snow and must be done within 12 hours following each snowfall event.
Only plastic-edged shovels and salt-free grit should be used on new concrete sidewalks. Metal edges and salt cause deterioration. City crews have designed an innovative snow removal plowing edge to ensure the new street surfaces downtown are preserved.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (507) 444-4350, or submit and Online Maintenance Request.
City policy strives to create equity among all property owners. On average, approximately 25 to 35% of street project costs are paid through special assessments. On average, approximately 65 to 75% of street project costs are paid through federal funds, MSA funds, and property taxes. Assessment rate is equal to the "assessable cost" of the project divided by the total number of assessable units benefited by the improvement. The assessable unit to be used for all surface improvements is the "frontage" of the property. Determination of property "frontage" (PDF).
The City utilizes a variety of funding sources including Federal Funds, Municipal State Aid (MSA) Funds, and local funds. Federal and MSA funds can only be spent on minor arterial and collector streets. The City uses these funds to offset or reduce special assessments and/or property tax funds spend on street projects. MSA funds are also used as a local match (20%) for Federal appropriations (80%) for larger projects with citywide benefits. Local funds include City-wide property tax collections and special assessments to properties in the benefiting areas.
The final assessment hearing is typically held after the project has been completed and all cost are known. Property owners will receive a final assessment letter stating the final assessment hearing date and payment options. The first assessment payment is due with property taxes the year following the final assessment hearing. Partial or full payment can be made after the final assessment hearing.
Federal and MSA funding is insufficient, limited to certain streets, and/or requires a local match (20%). The City does not maintain a capital improvement fund sufficient to "pay cash" for street projects. A "cash" fund for streets projects would likely more than double property taxes. The City bonds money to pay for street projects and state statute requires that at lest 20% of the project cost be special assessed.
It depends on the project parameters but typically:
Grading / ESC Permits are required for projects disturbing 5,000 square feet or more and for all new single family residential construction. Prior to beginning any of these activities, residents should contact the Stormwater Division at 507-774-7300 or 507-444-4350. For more information visit the construction stormwater page.
To report pollution or illegal dumping call 507-774-7300 or submit a report via the stormwater page. If calling after normal office hours or if reporting a spill call 911.
To report obstruction or drainage issues please contact 507-444-4350 or 507-774-7300.
The purpose of the utility fee is to raise revenue needed to fund continued investment to repair, replace, and upgrade aging infrastructure and to maintain compliance with Federal, State, and Local permit requirements.
To report a pothole on business days between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., call 507-444-4350 or submit an online Public Works Maintenance Request Form. When calling please be ready to provide the location by listing the street or avenue the pothole is located and the house number or cross street nearest the pothole.
If a street light in your neighborhood is out or has any other issues, please contact Owatonna Public Utilities at 507-451-2480.
The City of Owatonna does not provide leaf or yard waste pick-up service. It is a violation of City Code to rake leaves and grass clippings into the street. This debris will plug the storm system and degrade the water quality in our nearby waterways.
You must submit the Obstruction Permit to the Public Works Department, a Certificate of Insurance is required and the fee must be paid prior to the placement of the dumpster.
Landscape materials cannot be stored in the roadway. The City of Owatonna does not issue permits for the storage of such materials.
Contact the Public Works Department at 507-444-4350. You are required to obtain an Obstruction Permit.
The Adopt-a-Rain Garden Program is designed to give the community a hands-on opportunity to help keep Owatonna’s rain gardens clean and attractive by performing basic maintenance activities like picking up litter, pulling weeds, and installing new mulch when needed.
The adoption term lasts 2 years, and each year, the adoption commitment begins in April and concludes the end of October.
The Adopt-a-Rain Garden Program is open to:
The application and information packet for the Adopt-a-Rain Garden Program can be downloaded at the top of this page, picked up at the City Offices at West Hills Circle, or we can mail one to you, just contact the Water Quality Specialist or email Stormwater Management.
Catch basins are storm sewer inlets that collect water during storm events and are the first step in the stormwater drainage systems. Storm sewer systems are designed to remove water from our developed areas as quick a possible during storms. When storms occur, water and anything else on the streets enters the storm sewer system through the catch basins. Pet waste, oil, litter, and leaves carried in the stormwater is discharged directly into our streams and rivers untreated.
Catch basins are typically located next to street curbs or in rear yards of residential areas. They filter out debris such as leaves and litter. The grids located on top of the catch basins are small enough to prevent large objects from falling into the sewer system, but large enough to ensure that the flow of water is not blocked.
Citizens that adopt a catch basin will pledge to do the following:
Residents interested in adopting a catch basin will need to contact the Water Quality Specialist. Residents are required to sign the Adopt a Catch Basin pledge form agreeing to the requirements of the program. In exchange for monitoring the catch basin, residents will receive a complimentary bow rake to assist in the cleaning. Supplies are limited to the first 50 individuals that adopt a catch basin.
Compost is organic material made from the decomposition of living things. Food and yard waste break down in the composting process to produce nutrients for plants. Composting is nature's way of recycling. Rather than sending your food scraps, yard waste, and other organics to the landfill, you can compost them to create a nutrient rich fertilizer for your garden or lawn.
The Owatonna Compost site it located at:
400 W 32nd Avenue Owatonna, MN 55060
That's great! Take everything you don't have the capacity to compost in your backyard to the compost site. Make sure you check the list of accepted materials. On average up to 30% of the waste you generate at your residence can be composted. Utilize the compost site for yard waste and compost your food scraps in your backyard composting operation. You can also visit BioCycle website to learn where to bring your household organics which are not accepted at the compost site.
Always look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce your food waste by purchasing only what you need or by freezing items. Use plates, cups, silverware, and cloth napkins rather than disposable items. Recycle items by donating canned and dry goods that won't be used or by backyard composting of food scraps.
Continue to remove any organic products from your waste stream. These items include:
All Single Family Residential Construction and Any Project Disturbing 5,000 square feet or more, within the City of Owatonna are required under the Stormwater Management Ordinance to obtain a Grading / Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Permit from the Engineering Department.
Please visit the Construction page for further information as well as access to applications and fees.
Low Impact Development or LID is a stormwater management approach and site-design technique that emphasizes water infiltration, values water as a resource and promotes the use of natural systems to treat water runoff. Low impact development is a way to mimic the natural process and to avoid water pollution.
Low impact development approach employs distribution management techniques, called integrated management practices (IMPs). LID IMPs are used to satisfy storage and infiltration of stormwater.
Management practices that are suited to low impact development include:
The City of Owatonna was awarded a $500,000 Low Impact Development (LID) grant in June 2008 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The grant will assist the city with development of stormwater management infrastructure designed to reduce the volume and rate of runoff and ultimately improve water quality.
The grant funds will be used to complete several LID projects in various locations throughout the city. The projects are designed to address flooding issues in the city and promote LID practices that will result in fewer problems in the future. The city has outlined the following objectives to implement LID practices:
Pet waste is a health risk to pets and people, especially children. It's a nuisance in our neighborhoods. Pet waste is full of bacteria that gets carried into the storm sewer system when it rains. The bacteria ends up in stormwater ponds, ditches and the Straight River.
Be responsible and clean up after your pets.
Here are ways you can help:
The best way to dispose of pet waste is to flush it down the toilet because it gets treated at the wastewater treatment plant. Other disposal methods include sealing it in a bag and placing it in the trash or burying small amounts in your yard to decompose. Be sure to keep it away from vegetable gardens
Stormwater ponds are designed to treat stormwater runoff and improve water quality. The stormwater ponds detain stormwater runoff for an extended period of time, allowing for the suspended pollutants to settle down to the bottom of the pond and prevent them from entering our streams and rivers. Stormwater ponds also help prevent flooding by providing temporary storage of runoff and hold the water for a short period of time. Within the City of Owatonna, 20 public stormwater ponds and 40 private stormwater ponds exist.
Rain barrels are low-cost, effective, and easily maintainable retention devices applicable to both residential and commercial / industrial LID sites. Rain barrels operate by retaining a volume of rooftop runoff that can be stored and used later for lawn or garden watering.
As cities and suburbs grow and replace forests and agricultural land, increased stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces becomes a problem. Stormwater runoff from developed areas increases flooding; carries pollutants from streets, parking lots, and even lawns into local streams and lakes; and leads to costly municipal improvements in stormwater treatment structures.
Streets, roads, highways and parking lots accumulate significant amounts of pollutants that contribute to stormwater pollutant runoff to surface waters. Pollutants can be minimized by street sweeping. These pollutants include:
Street sweeping can also improve the aesthetics of municipal roadways, control dust and decrease the accumulation of pollutants in catch basins. In the City of Owatonna, streets are swept at least twice a year, once in the spring, usually in April or May, and once in the fall, usually in November during the fall leaf cleanup. Sweeping occurs because it is imperative that the storm drains remain clear and unplugged.
Fertilizer isn't the problem, if it's used carefully. If you use too much fertilizer or apply it at the wrong time, it can easily wash off your lawn or garden into storm drains and then flow untreated into the Straight River.
Just like in your garden, fertilizers in stormwater ponds, ditches and rivers makes plants grow. In water bodies extra fertilizers can mean extra algae and aquatic plant growth. Too much algae harms water quality and makes boating, fishing and swimming unpleasant. Algae decomposition uses up oxygen in the water that fish and other aquatic organism need to survive.
Here are a few ways you can help: