City of Madison Logo
City of Madison Development Services Center
Image: Land Development

Erosion Control: Land Development

Contact: Email  Engineering Division  Phone Number (608) 266-4751
Uncontrolled erosion, sedimentation and runoff during construction is a pollution source that negatively impacts storm water quality, clogs City sewers, and is hazardous for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

Madison General Ordinances Chapter 37 stipulates that the following land disturbing activities that take place within the limits of the City of Madison are subject to erosion control and require a permit from the City.

  • Land disturbing activity in excess of 4,000 square feet resulting in the loss or removal of protective ground cover or vegetation.
  • Land disturbing activity that involves excavating or filling, or any combination thereof, in excess of 400 cubic yards of material.
  • Any public (federal, state or local) street, road or highway that is constructed, enlarged, relocated or substantially reconstructed.
  • Any new public or private roads or access drives longer than 125 feet.
  • Land disturbing activity that disturbs more than 100 lineal feet of road ditch, grass waterway or other land area where surface drainage flows in a defined open channel; including placement, repair or removal of any underground pipe, utility or other facility within the cross-section of the channel.
  • Any subdivision of land as defined by Sec. 16.23 of the Madison General Ordinances entitled “Land Subdivision Regulations” which requires plat approval or any certified survey.
  • Any use by a unit of government or by public or private utilities in which underground pipe or facilities will be laid, repaired, replaced or enlarged for a distance of over 300 feet.
  • The area has any slope of twelve percent (12%) or larger regardless of the size of the site.
  • Land disturbing activity that disturbs less than 4,000 square feet of land, including the installation of access drives, that the Administrative Authority determines to have a high risk of soil erosion or water pollution, or that may significantly impact a lake, stream, wetland, or other sensitive area. Examples of activities with a high risk of soil erosion or water pollution may include, but are not limited to, land disturbance on erodible soil or adjacent to lakes, rivers, streams or wetlands. All such determinations made by the Administrative Authority shall be in writing, unless waived by the applicant.

Depending on your proposed project’s type and size it will be reviewed by the Building Inspection Staff or Engineering Division Staff. Building Inspection oversees erosion control permitting and enforcement for all Single & Duplex Residential Construction Sites resulting in land disturbance. The Engineering Division oversees erosion control permitting enforcement for all other construction / land disturbing activities (i.e. 3-unit or larger residential, commercial construction, utility, plat grading, etc.)

PROCESS OVERVIEW:

  1. Discuss project with reviewing agency


    Your review agency will be Building Inspection if:
    • The project meets any of the land disturbing criteria listed above, requires a building permit, and IS classified as a Single or Duplex Residential project.
    Your review agency will be the Engineering Division if:
    • The project meets any of the land disturbing criteria listed above and IS NOT classified as a Single or Duplex Residential project.

    Where to go:
    Building Inspection (Permit Counter):
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite LL 100
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 266-4551

    Engineering Division:
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
    City-County Building
    210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Room 115
    Madison, WI 53703
    (608) 266-4751

  2. Submit Application

    See step 1 for where to turn in your application. If the Engineering Division denies your permit request, you may appeal to the Board of Public Works. Also note that five (5) copies of a site-specific erosion control plan will also be required with your permit application if your project will be disturbing 20,000 square feet or more of land area.

  3. Pay Fees

    Pay your permit fees at the location you submitted your application.

  4. Receive Permit

    The division that received your application and permit fees will issue your permit.
Other Permit Concerns
There are a couple other permits that developers/owners should be aware of when conducting grading or other land disturbing activities.

  • If a site is disturbing an acre or more of land area and it is not part of a building construction project it will most likely also require a Notice of Intent permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). If the project is disturbing areas adjacent to or impacting water bodies considered “Waters of the State” a Chapter 30 permit from the WDNR may also be required.
  • A stormwater connection permit from the City of Madison is required for any disturbance or addition on a property adjacent to either a public or private non-exclusive drainage easement. Disturbances or additions shall include but shall not be limited to all grading, building additions, structures, sheds, garages, utility boxes, gardens and other landscaped features that may alter the drainage pattern on the site. The stormwater connection permit is reviewed and issued by the City of Madison Engineering Division and a link to the permit application has been provided in the Related Forms & Handouts section.

Related Forms & Handouts


Have Questions?

Contact Building Inspection - (608) 266-4551 or Engineering - (608) 266-4751

EROSION CONTROL PERMIT TRACKING

Registered users can update erosion control inspections on any of their active projects within the City of Madison.
Visit Erosion Control Permit Tracking