The mission of the Stormwater Utility Section is to manage stormwater services (drainage and water quality) to the public, while maintaining an equitable rate structure. The goal is to reduce flooding and improve the water quality of lakes and streams.
This section of the Engineering Division works a lot with drainage issues, questions and concerns from residents and works to provide guidance or help if possible. On a watershed level, stormwater works on flooding issues.
The Stormwater Utility Section designs, reviews, constructs and maintains the City of Madison storm sewer system, which includes approximately 275 miles of pipe and open channel systems used for flood control and runoff water quality improvement. Specific parts of the system include:
Stormwater collection (pipes, drains, greenways, inlets)
Water quality (ponds, rain gardens, greenways, catch basins)
Flood control/modeling (currently the stormwater utility is in the process of modeling the stormwater system for the entire city)
Maintenance of existing storm sewer, drainage system, design
Permitting, construction of ponds, greenways, shorelines and rain gardens
- Street Sweeping
- Leaf Collection
- Manages leaf studies to quantify the amount of Phosphorous from leaves in stormwater runoff for different leaf collection techniques
Erosion control permitting, compliance for City
Neighborhood planning process, pertaining to stormwater and water
Private development review, pertaining to stormwater, water quality
- Design of new, replacement storm sewer infrastructure
- Provides guidance on rain garden construction through Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Program
- Leads City and County effort to reduce salt use through the Winter Salt Certification Program in partnership with Wisconsin Salt Wise
History: How Storm Has Evolved Over the YearsStormwater design has gone through a number of changes throughout the development of the City of Madison. Original stormwater systems were largely designed using rules of thumb as the City continued to develop and the insufficiency of these systems became clear, the systems were “butressed” and expanded. “Modern” storm sewer design did not begin in earnest until the 1960’s when design tools became available. Design tools and treatment/flood control practices that we take for granted did not become common place until the mid-1980’s.
Detention basins for example did not become required in the City of Madison until 1983 and they were not required statewide until 2004. Madison’s Stormwater Ordinances and design standards have evolved greatly since 1983 (when Madison was one of the few municipalities in the state with a requirement) to include, infiltration, detention (to the 200-year event), water quality (sediment reduction), and thermal control.
Why does this matter: A significant portion of the City of Madison was built on “made land” these areas are very difficult to drain effectively and were largely developed at a time with limited stormwater design standards. As a result retrofitting these areas for adequate flood control presents significant challenges.
Stormwater Fast Facts
- 275 miles of stormwater pipe
- 26,611 stormwater inlets within the City of Madison Boundary
- Of 26,611 stormwater inlets within the City of Madison Boundary, City of Madison owns 25,764 (Dane County, State of Wisconsin and University of Wisconsin own the remaining)
- ____ rain gardens
- 2,000 acres of Greenway land
- 578 planted medians
- 246 ponds