Superior finishes work on green infrastructure changes

Ordinance changes over the last year have focused on improving the city's environment.

Water-powered sump pumps can help during emergency situations when you lose power. TNS

Superior finalized changes to its code of ordinances Tuesday, July 7 to make the city greener.

The City Council approved changes to property maintenance code to address sump pumps, rain barrels and roof drains. The changes clarify requirements for clear water discharges and includes provisions for rain barrels to encourage water harvesting.

The recommendations for the changes came from a Green Infrastructure Code Audit, paid for with a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Nonpoint Source Planning Program.

The audit recommended changes to the grading and drainage ordinance to provide discharge standards to prevent nuisance conditions.

Under the updated ordinance, clear water discharges such as those from a sump pump or roof drains are allowed but the point of discharge must be a minimum of two feet from the basement, foundation wall or an alley property line and five feet from all other property lines. It cannot be discharged to a street, alley or other public right of way and cannot create icy conditions on any pedestrian walkway. Sump pump discharge pipes must exit the building a minimum of one foot above the finished grade.


If conditions cannot be met, exceptions may be allowed with written approval by the chief building inspector.

Rain barrels are also allowed under the change. The above-ground storage receptacle must have an automatic overflow diversion system and an inlet screen to prevent entry of mosquitoes and other potential pests. It also must have a convenient and functional means of water withdrawal.

The council also approved changes to the roofs and drainage and storm damage sections of the property maintenance code to reference the language for new standards for clear water discharges.

The changes are the final revisions resulting from the project, according to the Environmental Services Division, which proposed the changes.

The city started amending its code of ordinances last year under the green infrastructure project.

Changes have included :

  • Amending the ordinance for curb cuts to spare boulevard trees. It established a reimbursement and replacement requirement if any tree in the city right of way is removed.
  • Established natural plantings such as trees and shrubs as a preferred method of buffering commercial and manufacturing facilities.
  • Promote water quality by establishing setbacks and buffers when new construction encroaches on waterways and regulating the removal of vegetation along waterways to prevent erosion and reduce the flow of effluent and nutrients into waterways.
  • Modified the noxious weed ordinance to encourage native lawns and established regulations allowing compost piles in the city.
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