City of Madison

City of Madison Engineering | Photo Credit: Archie Nicolette

Stormwater Ordinance Updates


Since 2016, the City of Madison and surrounding areas have experienced a large number of extreme storm events.  The result of these events has been both flash flooding in the areas directly affected by the storm, and elevated lake levels resulting in flooding of the low-lying areas in and adjacent to the Isthmus area. 

The City of Madison’s response to these extreme events has focused in several areas including completing watershed studies of the affected areas and reviewing our stormwater design standards that affect both new and redevelopments.

Madison General Ordinance Chapter 37 is where these design standards are located.  In Engineering’s review of the ordinance and the design standards within it, including the rainfall standards, design changes were recommended.  The proposed changes are available for public comment until April 10, 2020.

Owen Park Conservancy

The Ordinance

The general ordinance, which governs the management of stormwater and other surface water discharges within and beyond the Yahara River, the Sugar River, Door Creek and other bodies of water within the City, has been routinely updated to address new statutory requirement and changes. The Common Council deemed the changes necessary because they impact the health, safety, welfare and well-being of the City, its residents, businesses and others in the surrounding area.

Providing effective guidance with the management of stormwater can reduce the negative effects on the sanitary sewer system as well as the negative impacts caused by erosion, and the threat to residences and businesses by water damage from flooding events. 

Additionally, proper management of stormwater can reduce the environmental damage to the rivers, streams, and other bodies. Proposed ordinance changes are being contemplated to provide additional resiliency to the management of stormwater. 

There were public input meetings and presentations in 2019.

Below find materials supporting the presentations:

Feb. 26, 2020 Presentation
Feb. 26, 2020 Video Meeting
March 5, 2020 Presentation
Summary of proposed modifications to Chapter 37, The Public Stormwater System Including Erosion Control

Ordinance revisions

The proposed ordinance revision will have public input meetings. The Engineering Division is asking the public for input during the following scheduled meetings, and input electronically through general comments from Jan. 31, 2020-April 10, 2020.

Email comments to

Public input meeting schedule:

NOTE: The Feb. 26, 2020 meeting is geared toward professionals and potential developers, which will be presented from a more technical perspective. The March 5, 2020 meeting will be presented from a more public perspective, which will include background, general overviews and proposed changes to the ordinance. The March 24, 2020 meeting will provide a recap of comments and final proposed ordinance language.

Public Input Meeting No. 1:

3-5 p.m., Feb. 26, 2020

Madison Municipal Building

215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Room 206

Madison, WI 53703
Watch the full, recorded Feb. 26, 2020 meeting

Public Input Meeting No. 2:

6-8 p.m., March 5, 2020

Goodman Park Maintenance Facility

1402 Wingra Creek Parkway

Madison, WI 53715

Public Input Meeting No. 3:

*POSTPONED until a later date. Engineering will post a new date on this page when it is decided.

6-8 p.m., March 24, 2020

Madison Municipal Building

215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Room 206

Madison, WI 53703

To provide comments, please email before April 10, 2020.

Read a full press release about the ordinance change, invitation to public, which was posted Feb. 3, 2020.