Storm Water Division


In September 2016, the Missoula City Council voted to create a storm water utility so that the City can address stricter state and federal storm water regulations meant to ensure our rivers and ground water stay clean. These requirements include  providing a funding source and staff dedicated solely to managing storm water.
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Storm Water Division Duties 

As appropriate, we coordinate with other agencies, partnerships, and citizen input, to perform:
  • constructing, upgrading, and maintaining storm water facilities;
  • educating the public on storm water pollution prevention;
  • screening and sampling storm water for illicit discharges and pollution levels;
  • reporting testing results and other required activities to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality; and 
  • coordinating response to storm water flooding situations.

A day's waste from one large dog can contain 7.8 billion fecal coliform bacteria.


Stopping pollution caused by pet waste is important, and picking it up and disposing of it in the right way makes all the difference.   Dog waste left on the ground can be carried by rain or snow runoff directly into nearby water or into storm drains. Storm drains in streets and neighborhoods usually flow directly to streams or rivers without any treatment. Pet waste left to wash into Missoula streams and rivers degrades water quality in places that we swim, fish and recreate. The pet waste contains harmful organisms that can cause human diseases, like Giardia and Salmonella.  Untreated animal fecal matter and waste can become a harmful source of bacteria in water.  Just as we don't want human sewage in our waters, it is important to prevent pet waste from being carried into our waterways because of negligence. Remember to properly dispose of pet waste once you scoop.  And don't forget to carry the bag to the trash can. Once the biodegradable bag breaks down, the waste remains.       

What is storm water, why is it a problem, and how to report illicit discharge 

Illicit discharge is defined as any discharge not comprised entirely of rainfall or snowmelt.  Storm water runoff is water from rain and melting snow that flows over land and impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops and does not soak into the ground.  Storm water inlets go directly into our rivers, creeks, and lakes, and is not pretreated nor tied to sanitary sewer systems.  As a result, storm water runoff picks up illicit discharge such as trash, chemicals, fuels, oil, antifreeze spills, dirt and sediment that can pollute our river, creek and lake waters!   

In the event of a serious hazard to life, property or environment, call 911.  If you see or suspect a pollutant going into a storm drain that you feel could impact our storm water system, you can either call or use the online form.  

Working Together

For the past 10 years, the City has partnered with  the Missoula Valley Water Quality District to enforce water quality laws, monitor groundwater cleanup sites, oversee household hazardous waste collection, and more. The community’s unique Missoula Water Quality Ordinance provides strong protection of Missoula's waterway through the regulation of discharges, such as dry cleaner solvents, as well as the use of street deicers. This partnership continues following the creation of the Storm Water Division because both entities have similar goals but different tasks.

The Storm Water Utility Division also works with educational partners such as Montana Natural History Center and the Watershed Education Network. We are working together to cultivate and develop our future generations as stewards of Missoula's greatest treasures, our water.

Preliminary Rates

The City developed a temporary rate schedule for the storm water utility, but an in-depth rate study is expected to begin in the summer of 2017. This study will be used to establish a new rate schedule, which will be implemented at a later date. The current rates are as follows:

  • Residential (per Unit):  $9.00/year, billed twice a year
  • Commercial/Industrial (per Unit):  $23.00/year, billed quarterly
Any rate changes must be approved by City Council as part of a public process.
  1. Permits/ reporting   
  2. Construction Activities
  3. Water Quality Accomplishments
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is charged with enforcing state and federal regulations related to water quality, including storm water.  The City works with the agency to comply with regulations.


U.S. Clean Water Act
Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES)


The Storm Water Discharge General Permit MS4 is managed by DEQ to help ensure water quality. The five year permit, effective January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2021 requires that the City have a full-time storm water coordinator, increase hands-on education about storm water pollution and prevention, and increase public input into the program.

​2016 Annual Report
Storm Water Management Program

Contact us to provide your comments to the Storm Water Management Program.

If you have construction project complaints or suspect illicit discharge, call or contact any of these resources.