MS4 Program


Welcome to the City of Marshall storm water page. The purpose of this page is to provide information about how storm water is managed in the City of Marshall and to provide links to other websites that contain helpful information.


Storm water is any runoff, surface flow, and drainage consisting of water from any form of precipitation, such as rain or snow. As rainwater or snowmelt flow over the ground and impervious surfaces (paved streets, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, etc.), it can pick up a variety of pollutants. The runoff, laden with dirt, debris, automotive fluids, chemicals, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and other hazardous materials, then flows to the local storm water pipe network and eventually into storm water ponds, wetlands, or rivers. Storm water runoff is a leading source of water pollution. Storm water runoff can harm surface waters such as lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands which in turn cause or contribute to water quality standards being exceeded.

The storm water within city limits flows into one of two drainage basins, or watersheds: the Redwood River Watershed or the Cottonwood River Watershed. Both of these watersheds are part of the Minnesota River Basin and ultimately drain to the Minnesota River.


A watershed is the surrounding land area that drains into a lake, stream, or river. This includes natural waterways and installed waterways, like drainage ditches and storm sewer pipe networks.

MPCA—What is a Watershed?


The City of Marshall is located primarily within the Redwood River Watershed. This watershed covers 705 square miles and ultimately flows to the Minnesota River at North Redwood. The Redwood River has been identified as impaired waters.

MPCA—Redwood River Watershed

A small portion of the south side of Marshall, mostly south of MN TH23, drains to the Cottonwood River Watershed. This watershed covers 1,284 square miles and ultimately flows to the Minnesota River at New Ulm. The Cottonwood River has been identified as impaired waters.

MPCA—Cottonwood River Watershed


The actions of each individual within a watershed effect the environment around us. It is important to remember that all of Marshall’s storm sewer inlets and pipes eventually lead to drainage ditches, streams, and rivers. If we allow for pollutants to enter our storm sewer system we are polluting our natural waterways. The problem is not too large and by following best practices the actions of each individual can equate to a big change in the quality of our area waters.

The following actions are simple and can help City of Marshall residents provide a positive impact on watershed water quality:

  • Maintain a healthy lawn or otherwise established and vegetated property. This will help prevent soil erosion and promote the infiltration of water on your property. Reducing runoff and sediment losses has a big impact on water quality.
  • Use phosphorus-free fertilizers. Excess phosphorus encourages algae growth in ponds, streams, and lakes. The algae growth then blocks sunlight preventing plant growth and eventually removes oxygen from the water when the algae dies. The reduced levels of oxygen harms aquatic life.
  • Apply proper amounts of fertilizer. Excess fertilizers may be washed off your property with runoff and into nearby streets and storm sewer systems. Sweep fertilizer granules that are broadcast onto paved surfaces back onto the grass.
  • Keep your leaves and grass clippings off streets and other paved surfaces. Leaves and grass clippings contain phosphorus that may pollute our water ways. Sweep all vegetative debris from paved surfaces once you’re done mowing or clearing debris.
  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of properly. Pet waste contains phosphorus that is carried with runoff during rainfall events.
  • Wash your vehicle at a car wash or on permeable surfaces. Using a commercial car wash is the best way to avoid flushing contaminants such as oil, grease, metals, detergents, and phosphorus into our storm water systems and ultimately into our rivers and lakes. If you choose to wash at home, it is recommended that you wash your vehicle on your grass or on a gravel surface that will soak up much of the water and pour your leftover wash water onto your grass.
  • Prevent erosion on your property. When soil is left bare, rain water will run quickly over it, picking up soil particles and washing them into storm drains. Eroded soils and the runoff that carries the soil particles often contains excess nutrients to receiving waters, which often leads to impaired habitats. Prevent soil from washing into the street to keep soil from entering our waterways.
  • Don’t dump into storm drains. Do not discharge sediment-laden (dirty) storm water into storm drains. All storm drains lead to our public waterways. The dirty water should be filtered prior to discharge into storm drains. Do not pour chemicals of any kind into storm sewer drains. Dispose of left over paints, oils, cleaners, and hazardous materials in a safe and proper manner by taking them to Lyon County Environmental Office at the County Fairgrounds, or call 507-532-8210.
  • Use pesticides sparingly. Always follow suggested application rates and never apply chemicals just prior to a rainfall event.


As development occurs, there are fewer places for storm water to naturally infiltrate into the ground. Rooftops, driveways, parking lots, and streets all contribute to increased storm water runoff, which collect pollutants along its way into our lakes, rivers, wetlands, and storm sewers. As runoff increases, so does the cost to manage it from both water quality and water quantity standpoints.

In 2003, to maintain compliance with new Federal and State regulations, the City of Marshall created its Storm Water Utility to finance the administration, planning, implementation, and maintenance of surface water programs. This utility can finance water quality monitoring, sediment and erosion control project, stream and pond management activities, drainage system improvements, and many other storm water management and storm water quality endeavors. As development has continued in Marshall, and with additional Federal and State regulations, it has become increasing important to have revenues to finance storm water programs.   

For more information about the City of Marshall’s responsibility for storm water quality, click the link above for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4).


The City of Marshall and Marshall School District has been utilizing captured storm water to irrigate the ballfield complex and other high school athletic facilities on Tiger Drive? The SMASC Regional Pond retains about 11.3 million gallons of storm water. This allows for us to irrigate the athletic complex in between rain events and results in substantial cost savings for both the city and the school district! 

MS4 Program