Oswego is situated along the banks of the Fox River. Our town grew here because it was an easy place to cross the river. The river’s ribbon runs through our community with life-sustaining clean water that we value. Water quality is important to protect fish, wildlife, aquatic life habitats, aesthetic value, and most important, public health. Morgan Creek, Waubonsie Creek, and Blackberry Creek all pass through our community and feed the Fox. Lakes and other on-stream bodies of water are also considered part of the receiving water system.
Rain is important to the vitality of our lawns, farms, lakes, streams, and rivers. However, as stormwater travels across all surfaces, it can pick up debris, soil, garbage, pet waste, chemicals, salt and hazardous wastes. These materials can affect the quality of water entering our water bodies.
Residents can do their part to reduce pollutants entering our waterways:
- Store materials out of drainage ways such as ditches and floodplains
- Do not dump any materials into storm sewers, inlets, drainage ditches, wetlands, or rivers
- Wash your vehicle on your grass
- Test your soil and apply the minimum amount of fertilizers and weed control necessary to maintain your lawn
- De-chlorinate your pool water before draining your pool each fall
The Federal Clean Water Act requires that practical measures be taken to ensure that pollutants are not discharged into Waters of the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is the permit program that authorizes discharges into the Waters of the United States. Under the second phase of the NPDES, small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) must obtain a permit for discharges.
Oswego filed its first Notice of Intent (NOI) to comply with the statewide general permit conditions in 2003. The Village filed the second NOI in 2013. The Village filed the third NOI in 2016. The regulations require that the NOI address how the community will meet the six minimum control measures within five years of the initial NOI. The six measures are:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Participation/Involvement
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Runoff Control
- Post-Construction Runoff Control
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
In 2015, the Village developed a master Stormwater Management Program Plan to provide a consolidated resource for the Village's NPDES Program. The SMPP addresses the six minimum control measures. Annual reports are filed with IEPA which address the work that the Village has completed in the past year. Previous annual reports may be found at the following links:
The NPDES Phase II regulations authorize communities to take credit for work done by Qualified Local Programs (QLP). In Kendall County, the Kendall County Department of Planning, Building & Zoning serves as the QLP. Kendall County’s Countywide Stormwater Ordinance, which was adopted by Oswego, is the regulatory document for development in the county. Compliance with the ordinance ensures that water quality is maintained both during and after construction of new developments. The Village takes credit for Kendall County activities for all minimum control measures with the exception of the Illicit Discharge programs and housekeeping activities.
For more information on NPDES Phase II, visit the following sites:
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program
The Village of Oswego is required to comply with the Phase II regulations of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under the Clean Water Act. These regulations are designed to ensure that surface waters are free of pollutants. The program targets homeowners and small businesses in an effort to stop them from disposing of pollutants improperly by releasing them directly into the environment or into a storm sewer. Storm sewers, unlike sanitary sewers, go directly into the nearest river without being treated. When enough household chemicals, such as used motor oil and antifreeze, make their way into our waterways, they can kill fish and plants living in or near the water.
As part of the NPDES, Oswego conducts an illicit discharge detection program. The program involves inspecting the Village’s storm sewers when they should by dry, such as during a summer dry spell. If liquid is found in the storm sewers, the liquid is evaluated to determine its contents. In the event that the liquid contains anything other than stormwater, the Village traces the liquid to its source to determine the responsible party. The responsible party is required to take corrective action to eliminate the discharge. In some cases, the party may be fined.
The Village adopted an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Ordinance in 2007. The ordinance prohibits any direct or indirect non-stormwater discharge to the storm drain system, except as exempted. Exemptions include:
- water line flushing or other potable water sources
- landscape irrigation or lawn watering
- diverted stream flows, rising ground water, ground water infiltration to storm drains
- uncontaminated pumped ground water, foundation or footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, air conditioning condensation,
- non-commercial washing of vehicles
- natural riparian habitat or wetland flows
- swimming pools (if de-chlorinated - typically less than one PPM chlorine)
- firefighting activities, and
- any other water source not containing Pollutants
- Discharges specified in writing by the authorized enforcement agency as being necessary
If you would like to report a case of illegal dumping or have any other water quality concerns, call the Village at 630.554.3618 or report it online at Oswego Click 'n Fix. Remember, only rain water should be placed into storm sewers.
For more information regarding work groups that monitor water quality, click on the following links: