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The Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of every month beginning at 6:30 p.m. at:Municipal Center Community Room312 W Whitewater StreetWhitewater, WI 53190
In the event that an election falls on the date of a regularly scheduled Council meeting, the Council meets the following Thursday also at 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building.
Beginning on December 1st of each year, interested residents of the City can circulate nomination papers for positions on the Common Council for positions that expired the following April. These nomination papers and other required election forms can be obtained by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 262-473-0500.
To obtain a Beverage Operator’s License, commonly called a “Bartender’s License”, you must first enroll in or complete a Responsible Beverage Operator’s course. These courses are offered by the area technical schools. If you prefer, you can take an online course through one of the courses approved by Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
Bring your certificate of completion to the City Clerk’s office, where you will be asked to complete an application. Prior to license issuance, the Police Department will process a background check on the applicant. Police Department approval is required for all Bartenders’ Licenses. Licenses all expire on June 30th. License fees are $15 for a one year license and $25 for a two year license.
The City has citizens serving on the following City Boards and Commissions:
If interested in serving on any of these municipal groups, local residents are encouraged to complete a citizen service information form (PDF) or by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 262-473-0500. A nominations committee reviews information submitted by all citizens who wish to serve and makes recommendations for appointment to the Common Council. The Common Council makes all final citizen appointments to municipal boards and commissions.
You may register to vote any weekday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the City Clerk’s Office. You must provide your Wisconsin Driver’s License Number, or, if you do not have one, the last four digits of your social security number. Please bring proof of residence (utility bill, real estate closing paperwork, etc.).
You may also register to vote at the polls on election day. Proof of residence will be required before registration can be approved. Please call the City Clerk’s office at 262-473-0500 with any voter registration questions.
The CDA offers Economic Development Loans to prospective businesses. Loan amounts are based on the prospective businesses' needs and ability to create new jobs. Contact the CDA office at 262-473-0525 for a manual and application.
The Facade Loan Program provides financial assistance for downtown building facade renovations. Contact the CDA office at 262-473-0525 for a manual and application.
All applicants must live within the city limits and must qualify as low to moderate income. Income levels are published yearly by the Department of Housing and can be found on the Department of Commerce website.
The types of improvements that may qualify under the program are improvements necessary to make your property decent, safe, sound and sanitary.
If you qualify as low to moderate income, the CDA may provide some money for your home improvements. Contact 800-552-6330 for a complete manual and application and to discuss the program in more detail.
Water bills are mailed on the first business day of every month. The bill will show the current amount due, and the amount due if paid after the due date. You will need to tear off the top portion of the bill to include with your payment.
Yes, it can be set up to automatically deduct from your checking account, savings account, or MasterCard or Visa credit card.
We accept MasterCard, Visa, debit cards, Cash, checks. The City of Whitewater does not accept credit or debit cards for the payment of property/personal property taxes.
You can drop off the payment of utility bills at the following locations:
We do not accept payments for parking tickets at the finance/utility counter. They can be paid at the Police administrative services counter on the same floor. They may also be placed in the drop box at both entrances to the City Municipal Center.
Dog licenses are required and valid for one calendar year. Dogs must wear licenses and rabies tags. A current rabies certificate is required to purchase an animal license.
Although cats are not required to be licensed, they must have a current rabies tag. Licenses are available for purchase at the Finance Department of the Municipal Building.
You must have your dog under voice command or on a leash. If your animal is at large it will be impounded by the Walworth County Human Society. There is a $30 fee that must be paid to the City Treasurer before your animal is released.
Animals which habitually bark or cry are prohibited. Please review Municipal Ordinance Chapter 9.08 Animal Controls for further information regarding your responsibilities as a pet owner. Citations can be issued for noncompliance of these ordinances.
Parking is prohibited on most Whitewater streets between 2 to 5 a.m. Winter parking restrictions begin on November 1st and end on March 31st (parking is prohibited on all city streets from 2 to 6 a.m.). On-street parking is prohibited when snowplowing or snow removal operations are in progress.
Parking is also restricted within 4 feet of a driveway and 10 feet from a fire hydrant. There is also no parking within 15 feet of the near limits of a cross walk and anywhere else where restricted by signage. Other than on a paved parking lot or driveway, parking is prohibited on front and side lawns. Uncovered storage of unlicensed, junk, and/or unregistered vehicles is prohibited in all residential neighborhoods.
For Cravath and Trippe Lakes a drawdown would be performed by opening the dams and allowing the water level slowly lower until the water level is down to a stream bead. A Lake drawdown is one tool that can be used to manage aquatic weed problems. Lake level drawdowns often start in the fall and continue through the winter when water recreation uses are at their lowest. Most aquatic weeds are found near the shallow shoreline. Our drawdown will start on July 8, 2019 and be an extended drawdown that will last until the spring of 2021.
We are trying to freeze out and control invasive aquatic plants, including Starry Stonewort & Eurasian Milfoil. We currently perform a weed harvest twice a season to reduce the number of weeds in our lakes. An extended drawdown has many other benefits to the lake including sediment desiccation, which means the silty or mucky bottom can compress up to 1/3 of its depth when fully dried out. This would result in deeper water in our shallow shore areas. This along with a dry dredging while the lake is drawn down would allow for deeper lake and a navigable channel for recreational use. An extended drawdown also would also allow other invasive species to be controlled, while some beneficial native plants, that provide excellent fish and wildlife habitat, are expected to rebound. The extended drawdown would also give the city and/or DNR an ideal chance to inspect the dam while it’s dry.
The drawdown would begin the July 8, 2019 and would be part of a two-year process ending in the Spring of 2021. The lake would be drawn down slowly allowing for fish and wildlife to move up and down stream. Dredging some of the lake area would take place in the winter of 2020/21. The lake would then be allowed to refill in the spring of 2021.
If we get average rainfall in the spring, the lake should be back to normal levels by June of 2021. If we get a lot of snow or early season rain it could be full even quicker.
The drawdown must happen gradually so all fish and wildlife have enough time to locate to deeper water. The fish are expected to move with the water as the lake level goes down. It is possible that some fish may perish if they don’t move up or down stream quickly enough, but this is not expected to be significant. After the drawdown process is complete there will be a plan in place to restock to allow for a healthier fish population to return.
The dredging exemption is for manual dredging, which means dredging by hand or using a hand-held device without the aid of external or auxiliary power. View more information on the manual dredging exemption.
DNR also has a New Small Scale Dredging Permit, which allows for the removal of 25 cubic yards over 5 years. Landowners would have to comply with the conditions of the checklist.
Larger scale dredging permits need to follow the process outline.
The DNR does not generally recommend contractors.
If the removal of the material is by hand, the manual dredging exemption would apply if less than two cubic yards. If the removal is not by hand, it would fall under the conditions of a dredging permit.
Riparian owners can place pea gravel above the ordinary high-water mark; below the ordinary high water mark a permit is required. More information on pea gravel.
Yes, if done by hand. If any machinery is needed, it would fall under the conditions of a dredging permit. If less than 25 cubic yards, it may qualify for a small-scale dredging permit.
DNR has a general rip rap repair permit.
If a riparian wants to repair rip rap on their property and they don’t meet the conditions necessary to get the general permit, they can apply for an individual permit. View for more waterway information.
If a riparian wants to replace their rip rap entirely, they may qualify for an exemption from permitting. For more information on that, see the exemption checklist below. If the riparian does not qualify for the exemption, they can apply for a permit.
DNR has a general permit for the placement of new rip rap. Riparians should see the checklist to see if they meet the conditions. Otherwise, biological shore erosion control is a good option for shore stabilization. These activities are exempt from permitting, provided they meet the conditions of the exemption checklist.
The starry stonewort bulbils and stems are heavier than water and typically sink to the bottom, so it is unlikely that many will be transported downstream by water currents. This species also hasn’t been found near the outlet dam. It could be possible for some pieces to move downstream in the outflow, but the risk would be higher for species with floating fragments that are found close to the dam.
Boaters are the number one-way aquatic invasive species are moved between lakes. Remember to inspect your boat and trailer, remove aquatic plants and animals from your equipment, and drain your boat, live well and equipment before moving to a new lake, and put your catch on ice to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The exposed lake bed should freeze over the winter although there may be soft spots in areas where groundwater enters the lake. The severity of freezing will depend on the weather conditions this winter. Snow cover will insulate the exposed lake bottom and warm weather during the winter will allow water to run under the snow/ice layer. A cold and relatively dry winter will provide the best conditions for solid and deeper freezing. The DNR will measure the exposed lake bottom surface this winter to determine the depth of sediment freezing.
The boat launches will be open, but it will likely be difficult to get boats and trailers to the water edge after the drawdown this fall.
Removal of living plants is only allowed in a single 30-foot-wide path adjacent to a landowner’s property, and only if the area is not located in a sensitive area as determined by the DNR, and the removal doesn’t interfere with the rights of other riparian property owners.
Aquatic plants that reproduce mainly by seed are known to be most successful following drawdown. Muskgrasses (Chara), Naiads, and thin-leaf pondweed species have been the most successful following other lake drawdowns. Plants that reproduce mainly by rhizomes and vegetative reproductive structures (winter buds, turions, bulbils) such as milfoil, coontail, and certain pondweed species are expected to decrease following drawdown. It is expected that emergent plants (cattail and bulrush) will recolonize shallow water areas to some extent the year after the drawdown. These plants have evolved to adapt with changing water levels and may benefit from the extended drawdown.
This is likely a filamentous alga called Spirogyra or a similar species. Spirogyra is a native green alga that grows on the lake bottom in early summer. Air bubbles get caught in the algae and it eventually floats to the water surface and decomposes. Aquatic plants cause some shading of the lake bottom and prevent the growth of this type of algae to some degree. Excessive removal of aquatic plants means that there will likely be more Spirogyra. The amount of aquatic plants that return following the drawdown will likely dictate the amount of filamentous algae that is floating in the lake.
There are numerous examples in Wisconsin and elsewhere that show that Eurasian water milfoil can be substantially reduced for multiple years following an overwinter drawdown if the exposed lake bottom freezes. Preliminary laboratory testing with starry stonewort has shown that freezing, even for short periods of time, will kill the star shaped bulbils that allow for plant regrowth.
In addition, the exposure of lake bottom sediments to dry and freezing conditions can cause the organic sediment in the exposed lakebed to compact and oxidize; increasing the water depth following the drawdown. This oxidation can lead to increased release of phosphorus from exposed sediments initially after the lake is refilled, but less phosphorus release after the initial flush from refill.
The extent of control of EWM and SSW and compaction of lake sediments will depend on the severity of the two winters and the amount of drawdown that is possible. Colder and dryer fall and winter weather will create conditions for better control of these invasive plants and organic sediments. Cracking sediment on the exposed lakebed is a sign that the lake bottom has dried enough to allow compaction of organic sediments and plant seed germination. The exposed sediments will be checked in winter to determine the depth of frost and freezing conditions.
If you are interested in submitting a nomination for a Landmark to the Landmarks Commission, save this form (PDF) to your computer and fill out the requested information.
View the 2016 Preservation Activities Report (PDF).
The library has one meeting room that can be used by groups for meetings that are open to the public and free of charge. Reservations for the room must be made in advance. A copy of the complete Meeting Room Policy and the Facility Reservation Form are available at the front desk or on the library's website.
The library has cemetery records for 31 local cemeteries, digital access to the the Whitewater Register and two defunct Whitewater papers, the Whitewater Gazette and the Whitewater Chronicle and many local and county history books. In addition, the library has a subscription to Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest that is free for library patrons to use at the library.
A current listing of children’s story times and special events is located on the library website.
Applications to join the Friends of the Library are available at the front desk. Annual membership dues are:
Specific volunteer opportunities are also listed on the form.
The Friends of the Library sponsor two annual book sales to raise funds. Check the library's website for dates.
Yes. There are 19 laptops with Internet access available at the library. Patrons who wish to use the computers must sign the Internet Acceptable Use Policy at the library.
You may avoid appearing in court by paying the bail amount prior to your court date. If bail is posted you do not need to appear in court.
If you wish to plead not guilty, you may do this by mail. Mail the plea to the address:
312 W Whitewater Street
P.O. Box 690
Whitewater, WI 53190
Include the charge, your citation number, and your current mailing address. This must be received by the date on the citation. A trial date will be mailed to you with instructions for a mandatory pre-trial conference.
If you do not post bail and you fail to appear in court, a default judgment will be entered against you. Notice will be mailed to you advising you of the default. If you do not pay your fine, either a warrant may be issued for your arrest or your driving privileges may be suspended up to five years for failure to pay.
If you appear in court on your initial court date, you may request a postponement of your plea to consult with an attorney. You may enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest you will be found guilty and given an opportunity to speak. If you need time to pay your fine this request will be granted. The court may give you up to 60 days to pay your fine.
For an ordinance violation there normally is just a fine imposed. Most alcohol related violations give the Judge the option to require alcohol assessment, education classes, or suspend your driving privileges in addition to a fine. If any of these penalties are imposed, you will be advised at the time you appear in court.
Traffic violations will have a fine imposed. Most traffic violations have demerit points assessed against them. These points are determined by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Some traffic violations also will require a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges. An alcohol assessment is required on all OAWI violations. You will be given information regarding these requirements when you appear in court.
Yes, you need to fill out a permit form and provide the city with a complete plan showing the lot, house on the lot, the deck on the house and lot, the setbacks from the lot lines and the side view of the deck showing the height and railing type that maybe needed (10 feet from the side lot line and 15 feet from the rear lot line) (section 14.04, section 19).
Yes, you need to fill out a permit form and provide the city with a complete plan showing the lot, the house on the lot, the location of the shed or garage on the lot along with all other structures on the lot and the set backs from the lot lines and the home (minimum 5 feet from the side and rear lot lines and 10 feet from the home) (section 14.04, section 19).
No, as long as you are not closing up existing windows or doors with the new siding or that you are not increasing or decreasing the size of the windows with the new windows. If you are, then you will need to fill out a permit form and turn in a drawing showing the side elevation of home and the area that you are changing along with the floor plan of the area being worked on. (section 14.04)
Yes, you will need to fill out a building permit and turn in a floor plan showing the area to be worked on. (section 14.04)
If you rent you will need to check your lease and if you’re the home owner you and/or the renter need to completely clean all snow and ice from your sidewalk by 24 hours after the end of a snowfall. For safety this means that any amount of snow or ice on your sidewalk must be completely clean including any dusting or drifting that may happen. (section 12.20)
Grass length should not exceed 7 inches in height. It must be cut if it exceeds this height. (section 7.22)
If you are in an R-1 or R-2 Zoning districts anywhere in the city you can only have 3 unrelated non-family household members. If you are in the R-3 Zoning anywhere in the city you cannot have more than 5 unrelated non-family household members. (section 19.09.520)
Citizens having a legitimate interest in observing police patrol operations may request to ride-along with an officer of the Whitewater Police Department. Citizens may make such requests by calling the Police Department at 262-473-0555.
Please refer to Municipal Code Chapter 7.62 on minors - curfew and loitering for information about curfews.
To report a crime call the Walworth County Crime Stoppers at 262-723-2677 or 800-242-7463.
No. Block parties are prohibited.
An individual business or residence is allowed 3 false alarm calls per year. The property or business owner may be billed $100 for each alarm thereafter.
View a concise guide to moving into a residential neighborhood (PDF) and some tips on partying smart, safe and sober (PDF) to find the information you need.
The Department promptly investigates allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing by department members and to take appropriate action as to discipline, policy change, or exoneration. A complaint means that someone is dissatisfied with our performance.
If we are doing something wrong, the complaint will help the department recognize and correct deficiencies in our service to the community. It is the intent of the Police Department to provide its residents with only the highest quality law enforcement service. Access the online citizen complaint form to submit a complaint.
Being the victim of a crime is a very disturbing experience. The victim information guide (PDF) has been designed to describe some of the rights crime victims have in Wisconsin. It may help you in obtaining present and future services.
When you want to say thank you for a job well done by a police officer or other employee of the department, you can visit or call the Whitewater Police Department during regular business hours and ask to speak to a supervisor, or write a letter addressed to:Whitewater Police DepartmentAttention: Employee Commendation312 W Whitewater StreetWhitewater, WI 53190
You may also email the department. When saying thanks, please try to remember the name of the employee, and the circumstances of how you were helped. The incident will be reviewed and the police officer or employee could receive an award or letter of commendation.
Private fingerprinting is available through your local Sheriff's Department or University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Police Department.
To view found property come to the Whitewater Police Department Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be prepared to present either written documentation or give a verbal confirmation of ownership.
For information on sidewalk fundraising, please refer to Municipal Code 5.28.035 Outdoor Food Sales.
For rules regarding skateboards, please refer to Municipal Code 11.48.115 Skate Boards and Skating.
As a result of security issues and budgetary concerns, the Whitewater Police Department maintains the following policy regarding requests for official Whitewater Police Department uniform patches:
A complaint may be initiated in person, by telephone, by letter or online using the Citizen Complaint Form. Complaints can be filed 24 hours a day with a police supervisor. During regular business hours, other administrative personnel are also available to take a complaint.
If the complaint is against the Deputy Chief, Captain, Support Services Manager, Detective Lieutenant, Lieutenant or the Communications Coordinator the complaint should be filed with the Chief of Police. It the complaint is against the Chief of Police the complaint should be filed with the Whitewater Police and Fire Commission.
Yes, just have a parent or legal guardian present with you.
No, however, anonymous complaints can be difficult to investigate and thus the conclusion might not be what you expected. Also, if the investigation results in criminal action against the employee, you may be needed for successful prosecution.
Yes, the employee will eventually be advised of the allegation made against him/her and, if the complainant has identified himself/herself, the identity of the person making the allegation will be provided to the employee.
Absolutely not! It is essential that public confidence be maintained so that we may properly investigate and adjudicate complaints.
If the investigation shows misconduct, the employee will be disciplined according to the seriousness of the rules violation. Disciplinary actions range from oral reprimand to suspension or in extreme cases, termination. If the allegation is criminal in nature, the case will be presented for prosecution. Other appropriate remedies include policy change and retraining.
Minor complaints are often handled immediately. The investigation of serious charges may take up to thirty days unless circumstances necessitate additional time.
Yes, once the investigation has been completed, you will be informed of the results if you have identified yourself when making the complaint.
You may contact the Whitewater Police and Fire Commission, or in the case of possible criminal violations, you may contact the District Attorney.
Malicious and deliberate false accusations are occasionally made against the agency or its personnel. It is important to note that making a false statement which you know to be untrue may subject you to criminal charges and or a civil lawsuit by the agency or its employee.
If you have any questions or would like further information or assistance in filing a complaint, contact the Whitewater Police in person, by telephone at 262-473-0555, or by emailing the Police Department.
Required by the City, licenses can be obtained at the Police Department. The non-expiring license fee is $3.
Sale, use and possession of fireworks is prohibited without a permit. Please refer to the Municipal Code Chapter 5.08 Fireworks for more information.
No permit is required however, there are regulations for these fires. View Municipal Code Chapter 8.32 Open Burning for more information. View the Whitewater Burning Permit Application Form.
The Whitewater Police Department is processing Wisconsin Department of Transportation vehicle renewals at the Police Department lobby. The hours of service are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays and there is a fee of $10 per registration. You may contact us by phone at 262-473-0555 or by emailing the Police Department with questions regarding vehicle renewals.
Parking tickets may be contested by contacting the Whitewater Police Department within 7 days of issuance for a Municipal Court appearance. If a court appearance is not requested the ticket must be paid within 7 days. Payments can be made by putting the payment and ticket number in an envelope and placing it in the payment drop boxes in the vestibules of the Whitewater Municipal Building, via the U.S. Postal Service (do not send cash), by calling 262-473-0555 with credit card information or electronically by using the Payment Services Network.
If you experience technical difficulties please call Payment Services Network support at 1-877-885-7968. Payment Services Network now has a mobile app for android and i-phone. Visit the Google play store or i-Tunes to download the free mobile app. Search for "PSN Payments".
For parking violations 1 to 11:
Parking Violation 12 or more:
Failure to pay after 60 days will result in an increase to $45 or $165 and the suspension of your vehicle registration, along with your name being added to the Wisconsin Tax Refund Intercept Program.
The following winter parking rules have been established under Municipal Code 11.16.020:
If involved in a traffic accident in the City, contact the Whitewater Police Department and an officer will be assigned to respond to the accident and determine the level of investigation necessary.
The person requesting a police accident report, incident report or background check must fill out a request form (PDF). It may take up to 10 business days for the copies of reports to became available. A fee may be charged for a faxed copy or copy of an accident report, incident report or record check.
Reports can be emailed to the Police at no cost. Please call 262-473-0555 and ask for the records department. Hours for the Police Inner Lobby and Records Department are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The offices are closed on holidays.
There is no charge for trimming or removing a hazardous, diseased, or dead tree which is within the public road right-of-way.
Common questions are for pharmaceuticals, engine fluids, and paint products. The City has a pharmaceutical drop off box in the entryway of the municipal building for pharmaceuticals.
Jefferson County and Walworth County also have Clean Sweep programs in place to accept old medications and household chemicals. These programs should be utilized annually as City Ordinance 16.14.575 prohibits the above discharges. Information for these programs can be found at the Jefferson County website or the Walworth County website.
The compost site is now open for the season. Hours of operation are Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The City will provide a loader for loading chips and compost into resident’s trailers and trucks. This loader will be available the first Saturday of every month until the site closes for the season. The compost site will be closed on Saturday, July 4, 2020.
*Please allow enough time for unloading as the compost site will close promptly at the posted times.*
The compost site is located at:599 N Jefferson StreetWhitewater, WI 53190
The compost site is available to City of Whitewater residents only. Residents can bring yard waste to the site for disposal. Residents are required to empty the yard waste from any container used in the transportation of the yard waste and take the container home.
Residents can also help themselves to composted material or wood chips at the site. Residents must load their own compost or wood chips.
NOTICE: City Ordinance Chapter 12.08 – Street Obstructions, Section: 12.08.010 – Residents are prohibited from depositing any yard waste debris on city streets or right of ways other than City of Whitewater designated days.
If you have any questions please call the Department of Public Works at 262-473-0560.
Most, but not all, water leaks come from a toilet that is leaking or sticking. In most cases you will not be able to hear the leak. A small leak can rob you of 500 gallons per day or more.
Have a qualified person check for leaks or call the Water Department at 262-473-0560 or the billing office at 262-473-1383 for other suggestions.
To report a light that needs maintenance call the Streets Department at 262-473-0560.
The city routinely trims trees on a four or five year cycle. Trimming is done for the health of the tree and to prevent hazardous conditions for pedestrians and vehicles. The city will remove a hazardous, diseased, or dead tree as necessary. Questions may be directed to the Department of Public Works by calling 262-473-0560.
From time to time you may experience "rusty" water. This is usually caused by:
This water is bacteriologically safe to drink, but unpleasant to look at. This situation can be solved by running your cold water until it clears up. Call the Water Department at 262-473-0560.
Make sure you call the Water Utility billing office at 262-473-1383 to order a "final" reading for water and sewer charges.
The Wastewater Utility has programs in place to accept septage and holding wastes. Other wastes such as leachates and specialty wastes (i.e. remediation site waste, pit waters) can utilize the facility if the waste is approved by city personnel after analysis. RV waste is also accepted at the facility for a nominal fee.
Please call the Water Utility billing office at 262-473-1383 regarding any questions on your water/sewer bill.
You bet it is! Municipal water is regulated by both the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. View a copy of the water quality report (PDF) from the Municipal Building.
According to City Ordinance 16.14.570, it is illegal to discharge sump flows into the sanitary sewer. On a cumulative basis this overloads the collection system. Perhaps causing problems for your neighbors and/or city facilities. Sump pump discharges should be routed to the curb line for discharge to the stormwater system.
Planting of terrace trees is the responsibility of the city. For more information please call the Forestry Department at 262-473-0560.
Brush chipping is every Tuesday, all year. To have your brush chipped all you need to do is call 262-473-0560 before 5 a.m. on every Tuesday and leave your city address.
View City of Whitewater's Brush Collection Policy (PDF).
View information about sewer backups in the home. You can also review the no fault sanitary sewer backup damage reimbursement policy (PDF) and a list of area plumbers (PDF).
Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by a number of factors. They usually involve sewer pipe blockages in either main sewer lines or service laterals (lines between buildings and the main line). Causes may include pipe breaks or cracks due to tree roots, system deterioration, and insufficient system capacity due to illegal sump pumps, residential or commercial growth, or construction mishaps.
In home and business plumbing systems, the main cause is accumulation of grease, tree roots, hair, or solid materials, such as disposable diapers or sanitary napkins that are too large for wastewater pipes to handle. Such materials may cause major backups in city lines as well as in residents’ lateral lines. Another possible cause of a sewer backup within the city’s system is vandalism. Leaves, sticks, rocks, and trash have been found in manholes. We hope you will report observations of any such activity.
You can do the following to help prevent a sewage backup:
If the backup occurs in a city maintained line, the wastewater will overflow out of the lowest possible opening. Unfortunately, this may be a residential home or business especially those with basements, or where the lowest level is even with the sewer lines - the overflowing wastewater may exit through the home’s lower drains and toilets.
First, take action to protect people and valuable property. Then, do the following:
The following may occur if you call the city:
Every attempt is made to prevent backups in the public wastewater system before they occur. Sewer lines are specially designed to prevent accumulation and stoppages.
In addition, we have qualified staff that is devoted to inspecting and cleaning wastewater lines throughout the city on a regular schedule. Even with our maintenance schedule, backups are often beyond the city’s control. Most backups which do occur are confined to the sewage pipeline, rather than backing up into a home.
In the majority of cases, a special rider can be added to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to cover damages related to sewage backups or water damage. This optional coverage is usually not very expensive, but you must usually request that it be added to your policy. Call your insurance agent today to discuss this policy option.
As with the majority of municipalities in the country, the city cannot assume financial responsibility for damages resulting from sewage backups that are beyond the city’s control. That is why it is important for property owners to confirm they are adequately insured - particularly if areas of their home lie below ground level. It also reinforces the importance of properly maintaining your homes plumbing system through some simple steps mentioned above.
Emergency crews are on call 24 hours a day to assist you. In an emergency such as a sewer line backup, or if you observe any vandalism associated with the wastewater or sewer lines, contact the Wastewater Utility, Monday to Friday from 7 am to 3:30 pm, at 262-473-0560. All other hours, please call 262-473-0555, #4.
Brush chipping is every Tuesday, year round. To have your brush chipped please call 262-473-0560 before 5 am on every Tuesday and leave your city address and phone number.
Planting of terrace trees is the responsibility of the City. For more information please call our department at 262-473-0560.
To report a light that needs maintenance, call the Whitewater Streets Department at 262-473-0560.
The City routinely trims trees on a four- or five-year cycle. Trimming is done for the health of the tree and to prevent hazardous conditions for pedestrians and vehicles. The City will remove a hazardous, diseased, or dead tree as necessary. For more information please call our department at 262-473-0560.
There is no charge for trimming or removing a hazardous, diseased, or dead tree which is within the public road right-of-way. For more information please call our department at 262-473-0560.
There is no parking on any street in the city between the hours of 2 am and 6 am on any day from November 1st of each year to March 31st of each year, except by special arrangements with the Whitewater Police Department.
Review the snow and ice control policy (PDF) to learn those rules.
Since the beginning stages of the ARRA project in 2009 this specific project has been identified and termed the “second phase” in council discussions. The first phase being the equipment replacement project completed in 2011. In addition, many of the needs associated with this project were the driving force behind development of a Facility Plan. This effort began in May of 2008.
It is important to note that the “draft” version (2010) and our current version (2014) are not a fair comparison without understanding the details. The draft version was just that as it was not given the opportunity to develop to the extent that our current version has. The draft version does however provide context by identifying tentative timeline milestones and documents our interest in scheduling project(s) when they make the most economic sense relative to debt and user rates.
In 2013 a request for proposals (RFP) was issued for review, modifications where appropriate, completion and final submittal of a Facility Plan. Four engineer firms were interviewed by a selection committee comprised of a consultant, city staff and elected officials. The firm which was awarded the contract was chosen unanimously. Technical Memorandum Number 4 (TM4/digestion complex) was not initially developed due to cost and an existing contract for a Biogas Feasibility Study with Trane.
Later, because of timeline concerns with the feasibility study our engineer was given approval to complete TM4. This will be provided to the WDNR in the form of an addendum once completed in the coming weeks. The Facility Planning process was well thought out and provided an infinite level of involvement by department staff and management. The Facility Plan was approved by the WDNR in September of 2014.
At the council presentation on June 17, 2014, our consultant provided an update which included the project cost estimate. Following this on July 15, 2014 city council approved the engineering and bid services contract. This contract also includes a user rate study. This contract includes all efforts for getting the project ready for construction.
City staff has met with consultants on numerous occasions. We have communicated through countless phone calls and held site visits in order to validate equipment selection, review process intricacies and address any concerns or design options as we progress. Throughout this process, engineering cost estimates are closely monitored and prioritization are assigned.
Day long sessions have been held to concentrate on cost saving measures to make sure we maintain consistency in our decision making. At this time total project engineering estimates, not including TM4 (yet to be completed) are $18.7 million. We have recently learned that we will be unable to phase in rate increases which have been planned for since 2009. A onetime rate increase is required to meet the terms of preexisting loan requirements.
We will be unable to provide exact determination of rate impacts until bids are received for the project. However, we can provide residents an idea based on the total estimated project cost. It is anticipated that rate increase could be greater than 30%.
With this increase the average residential customer would see an increase of about $10 to $15 a month. As was noted previously, TM4 has not been accounted for at this time and we are not sure as to the impact this may have on the total project cost.
Is it important to understand that utility debt includes necessary expenditures to the facility and to the collections system. The estimated value of our collection system is approximately $17 million. This in itself requires maintenance and planning and frequently has required borrowing as part of large road repair projects. In the recent past this has been a major component of our debt.
I wish we had a crystal ball for future regulatory requirements and borrowing needs. The upcoming project does not include a construction component for phosphorus treatment. There are also other potential regulatory requirements on the horizon that could require a capital expenditure. Through good planning and creative solutions we hope to always minimize those costs.
This project was not forced upon the City by the WDNR. However, standard engineering and life cycle schedules are completed in 20 year increments (NR110.09)(1)(a). A thorough review of the Whitewater facility has not been done since its construction in 1982. Planning for items that have outlived their useful life and preparing the utility for another 32 plus years of service is the responsible thing to do.
Ultimately, we must provide quality service to our customers while maintaining compliance with all regulatory requirements. Those requirements have changed since 1982 and will continue to do so in the future. The heart of most treatment systems is the secondary treatment process. Here in Whitewater that is accomplished using Rotating Biological Contactors or RBCs. Again, these were designed to a 20 year life cycle and units run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We currently have 3 of the 48 RBCs out of service due to shaft failure. Another 6 are out of service due to their proximate location to the failed units. I could develop a list but I feel the point is better addressed by cost. We have received two cost opinions over the years and both have shown the cost to repair our existing system is greater than the cost of replacing it with a different, more flexible, technology. The secondary process and associated equipment is the largest cost component with this project. Additionally, electrical infrastructure, hydraulic constraints and code compliance all account for a large portion of the overall cost. The inclusion of these items was driven by process reliability, permit compliance and safe working conditions.
We did look at aspects of the project that were feasible to be looked at down the road as a separate project. This is shown as we identified Phosphorus removal as an item to be dealt with at a later date for various reasons. It may help to mention that the majority of the site will be touched by construction. Roadways will be rebuilt, failed pipes will be replaced, new tanks and process piping will be installed.
It would seem counterproductive to revisit an item with limited life and whose installation could feasibly cause damage to relatively new piping and roadways knowing that future costs will be greater. Also, the biological process is designed as a unit, with many moving parts and variables. Therefore, it is very important that items of a common design point are installed and brought online as one.
A secondary clarifier will be incorporated into the design for additional aeration capacity vs. construction of increased square footage in a new tank. Staff and consultants reviewed in length the ability to reuse our existing RBC tanks. Due to their shallow tank depth and the hydraulic profile it was not advantageous to re-purpose these tanks. All other tankage and buildings at the facility will remain.
The City has elected to move forward with a conventional activated sludge process that incorporates biological phosphorus removal. Along with this we will be incorporating mixed liquor wasting vs. the more typical batch wasting from the secondary clarifiers. This will allow for a consistent solids retention time and minimize any potential biological upsets due to filamentous bacteria.
Originally, this project was intended to accommodate design and equipment to meet the new phosphorus standards adopted by WDNR on December 1, 2013. With this new water quality standard the allowable concentration for phosphorus discharge is lowered from 1 milligrams per liter to 0.075 milligrams per liter in Whitewater Creek. Because of cost savings, possible technological advances, fluctuating regulations and the potential for more cost effective solutions we have elected to postpone construction as a solution to meet phosphorus compliance regulations at this time.
When our new permit is issued we will have 7 to 9 years to meet these target levels, if construction is the chosen route. Based on current estimates this would have added an additional $4 million to this project. The options for phosphorus compliance are a discussion in its own right. This will be addressed with council and the regulatory community in the near future. Per the WDNR we will have until approximately 2017 to 2018 to decide on our chosen route for compliance.
As part of this upgrade Whitewater will be transitioning from chemical phosphorus removal to a biological phosphorus removal strategy. Chemical removal equipment will remain in place for emergencies and final effluent polishing as needed. Some cost savings will be realized with this change.
TM4 is being incorporated as part of the Facility Plan and it will look at the current state of our digester complex and associated processes. Questions such as, does the complex operate as it should, what is the condition of the infrastructure, are there current or future regulatory concerns, is there room for improvement and if so, what is it and what is the estimated cost, will all be discussed and reviewed.
At this point some code and infrastructure concerns along with some very real options to leverage this valuable asset have been identified. Prioritization will be the key as we work through this document which is currently in draft form. Of all the processes at our utility, the digester complex has the greatest potential to generate revenue and offset future costs.
There are several items currently in the works that we must be conscious of and keep our “ear to the ground” for. Phosphorus rule language has been adopted and will be in our new permit which is set for reissuance yet this year. In addition, Nitrogen is the next nutrient that regulators anticipate being included in future permits. Hopefully this is 10 plus years out?
A separate issue is land application regulations. Currently we apply our liquid biosolids to area agricultural land based on field Nitrogen requirements and code requirements in NR204. Per discussions with WDNR officials this will most likely change to a Phosphorus based (P index) system. What does that mean for us? We will need to identify more specific field sites and we will also need more acreage. More time and funds will have to be allocated for this change.
Operations staff will be involved in a complete training program as we incorporate new equipment and processes. These training programs have been and will continue to be recorded for future reference. One unknown at this time has to do with solids handling.
Per references it is common for activated sludge facilities to be unable to decant or supernate solids from their sludge storage tanks or digesters. In the past, Whitewater has been able to decant (recycle if you will) approximately 1 million gallons of biosolids per year. This acts to further concentrate solids and minimizes trips to the field.
Proper planning would suggest that we need to account for, in some fashion, this higher volume, lower percent solids material. Both staff and consultants are actively pursuing options to address this issue.
Iron and manganese, which occur naturally in well water, can cause a rusty color. The City has pressure iron filters at the source to remove iron. It is not harmful. Run your water until it clears.
An unpleasant odor (usually described as smelling like rotten eggs) is almost always a problem with the water heater. A heating anode in the unit would be the culprit. Consult your plumber.
If you are going away on vacation in the winter, avoid turning your thermostat down as far as it will go. If the temperature falls too low in the basement where water service enters your home, your water meter or pipes might freeze and burst, resulting in water damage to your home. If your water meter freezes, you will be responsible for the charge for repair or replacing the meter.
Hydrant Flushing is done twice a year to clean the mains from iron build up. During hydrant flushing you may experience discolored water which is not harmful. If you experience rusty looking water run your cold water faucet until it clears up.
Most often, reduction in water pressure is caused by something within the house. The valves on the water line coming into the house may not be open all the way. More frequently, however, a reduction in pressure is the result of a water softener no longer working properly. Most softeners are equipped with a manual bypass valve.
To check your softener, bypass it manually and water will not flow through the softener. If the pressure improves, the softener is the problem. If the pressure does not improve, call the Water Department at 262-473-0560 for further assistance.
The homeowner is responsible for any service line blockage between the home and the City sewer main. This includes debris and tree roots. The homeowner is responsible for any repairs on the service line from the home to and including the connection at the property line. The City will repair sewer lines located within the public road right-of-way.
The City maintains the water line within the public road right-of-way and the meter itself. The rest of the system is the responsibility of the homeowner. The City does not provide repair service. The Utilities Division will shut off the water at the curb box if needed for a repair.
In an emergency situation, call the Water Works Department at 262-473-0560 or, if it is an evening or weekend, the Police Department at 262-473-0555 so a maintenance worker can be dispatched to shut off your water. If your repair is not an emergency, please call the Water Works Department at least 24 hours before the repair is to be made to schedule the water shut off.
The curb box will be located ahead of time and checked for operability. A maintenance worker will meet with you or your representative at the scheduled time to shut off the water.
The hardness is 17 grains per gallon. After leaving the water treatment plant, the iron and manganese content are both less than 0.008 parts per million.
If so, before you start, please call Diggers Hotline at 800-242-8511. Diggers Hotline will arrange for utility companies to mark the buried utility lines in your yard. It's a free service and could save your life.
Calls should be made at least 48 hours prior to the start of digging. Power outages should be reported to Electric/Power Outage Hotline by calling 1-800-662-4797.
Utility companies have the right to work in the street right-of-way to lay or maintain their lines. Before work begins, the company calls to notify other utilities of the work to be done. The other utilities then mark their existing lines in the area.
Gas lines are marked in yellow, telephone and cable in orange, electric in red, water in blue, and sewer in green. To find out what work is being done, contact the utility companies.
The City treats a large amount of “clear water” that does not require treatment. Examples of this include rainwater and sump pump discharges. High volumes can overwhelm the existing system and cause basement backups, sanitary sewer overflows, quality of treatment concerns and increased operational costs. Smoke testing is a means to locate areas where this “clear water” is making its way into the system. A liquid smoke product is vaporized and forced into a length of sanitary sewer pipe that has been temporarily plugged on either end. Air pressure carrying the smoke product will flow into all areas that are hooked into the sanitary system. If your home is plumbed correctly, only the vent stack should show signs of smoke.
If you have a respiratory or other health condition, it may be wise to move outdoors while smoke testing is occurring. This should be no longer than 20 minutes. If there is any other special circumstances, please contact the Collections Operator at (262) 473-0560 prior to September 9. If you will be gone for the day and pets are home it is a good idea to leave some windows open slightly and run a fan if desired. The liquid smoke product used is non-toxic and a scientific evaluation report along with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is available for review on the City’s website.
If you have any unused or lightly used drains in your home it is wise to pour approximately one (1) gallon of water down those fixtures. This will fill up the drain trap, which will prevent smoke from coming into your home. An example of this would be an old wash sink or basement floor drain.
Please contact a member of the smoke testing crew in your area to report your findings. After this, it is recommended you contact a licensed plumber to repair any deficiencies found during smoke testing. If smoke is finding its way into your home during this inspection, it means that sewer gas is also able to make its way into your home as well.
No, you do not need to be home but you may want to leave a kitchen and bath window slightly ajar to increase ventilation in your home.
Wastewater Utility staff has discussed the upcoming testing with Police and Fire Department officials. Residential homeowners and businesses in the testing area will be receiving notifications. In addition, all schools, assisted living complexes and department stores have been notified in person. Information and links have been posted via Public Service Announcement (PSA) outlets, Facebook, the City of Whitewater website and the Whitewater Banner.
A map has been created to show residents and business owners the area that will be tested.
Please direct questions to the Wastewater Utility at (262) 473-0560. Staff is available Monday-Friday from 7:00am - 3:30pm.