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Winner - Best Tasting Water in Wisconsin, 2013 WWA State Fair competition


Paterson St Operations Center


Project Engineer:  Al Larson, P.E.:

(608) 266-4653

Madison Water Utility Engineering Section:

(608) 266-4646

Give us your feedback, or volunteer for the Citizens Advisory Panel:

(608) 266-4651

Building Architecture: Rich Lundeen, Mead & Hunt Inc.   (608) 273-6380


On 6/24/14, the Water Utility Board approved plans for a $7.4 million overhaul of this vital Madison facility.

NEXT STEPS: Refine the conceptual plans with neighborhood input. Currently, MWU hopes to begin construction in the summer of 2015.

GET INVOLVED: Sign up to be a part of our Citizens Advisory Process (CAP) and work closely with neighbors and alder for the area, Marsha Rummel, to develop and refine this project. Contact us at (608) 266-4651 or


Madison Water Utility is rebuilding its outdated and cramped Operations Center, located at the corner of South Paterson and East Main. Learn more about the safety and logistical issues MWU employees currently face at this aging facility on our Inside MWU page.

The "Ops Center" has been a part of the Marquette neighborhood for more than 75 years and is one of the most critical facilities in the city, ensuring that hundreds of thousands of people have access to safe, clean water. The current 1920's-era building is staffed 24 hours a day and serves as a home base for Madison Water Utility's dispatch center and emergency repair crews. Its central location on the Isthmus allows emergency crews to respond to main breaks and other issues across Madison as quickly as possible.

  • 65 full time employees work at the Ops Center
  • They respond to approximately 4000 work orders per year
  • They fix an average of 250 main breaks per year
  • The inspect and repair an average of 6,100 valves per year
  • They inspect and repair an average of 5,100 fire hydrants per year
  • They flush over 500 miles of water main every year
  • They maintain 22 wells sites, 5 elevated tanks, 8 large ground level reservoirs, and 6 stand alone pumping stations.
  • They maintain and repair 87 vehicles of all types and sizes, 8 tractor mounted backhoes, and forklifts, mowers, generators, welders, arrow boards, sweepers, a Bobcat and other miscellaneous equipment.

Emergency repair crew at main break Emergency repair crew member at main break

Emergency crews based at the Ops Center respond to hundreds of main breaks across Madison


Why is this project needed?

The existing facility is undersized, cramped and inefficient for current needs. Maintaining dump trucks, backhoes, and other equipment is difficult and dangerous for employees. Locker rooms, office space, and other areas are in need of updating and expanding. Technology is changing and the facility needs to be updated to bring it up to current standards. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning is inadequate and air quality is questionable. The facility has served its useful life and needs to be replaced.

Why does MWU want to stay in this location?

This centralized location provides a significant logistical advantage in responding to emergencies and system maintenance requirements. Most of the oldest parts of the city's water system are located on the Isthmus and require frequent attention

Why doesn't MWU move everything to its Olin Avenue location?

Moving all of our operations to our Olin Avenue site would require the addition of 3-4 acres of property at the Olin site. This additional property is currently unavailable from either Dane County or from the transfer station to the west. Any property acquisition there would also likely require mitigation of an adjacent existing landfill, adding additional expense to the project.

Will the facility be designed as a “green” facility?

MWU and the architect will work closely with the neighborhood to ensure that the building is environmentally friendly meets the sustainability goals of the City.

Will we have an opportunity to weigh in on the look and configuration of the new Ops Cetner?

MWU will host a series of public meetings and post information on this project web page to solicit input from interested citizens to shape the project. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at

How long will it take to build?

Construction is expected to take a year to complete.

What will the new facility look like?

The architect will develop architectural renderings of the building for public comment and feedback. It is our intent to design and construct a building that fits into the neighborhood.

How much will it cost?

MWU is currently estimating $7.4 million for construction. We are still looking at several different options for reconstruction which vary in vost.

Will my water rates go up as a result of this project?

MWU develops a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) annually to update existing facilities, construct additional facilities, and renew our infrastructure. Water rates pay for the CIP and all rate payers will contribute equally to this project. MWU routinely reviews rates and works through the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to establish equitable rates based on the utility’s financial needs. Water rates are expected to rise as necessary to cover the cost of the overall CIP.

When will construction start?

The hope is to be under construction in the summer of 2015.

Once this facility is constructed will there be a lot of additional traffic around the area?

There will not be an increase in traffic due to the completion of this project.

Operations Center

Operations Center Location



Lots of great questions and input during our first public meeting, which was held at the Operations Center at 110 South Paterson Street on November 18, 2013. Community members got a chance to tour the aging facility as well as the site across the street where the Ops Center will be relocated.

Community members tour aging ops center

Also mentioned by some at the meeting was the 2004 East Rail Corridor Plan and Recommendations report, which emphasizes economic development and job creation for the area.

Detailed minutes, 11/18/2013 initial public meeting