How to Use the Sewer
Whatever goes down the drain eventually ends up in our surface waters, so the City of Madison strictly regulates what can and cannot be disposed of in the storm sewer or sanitary sewer.
Specific prohibited discharges are spelled out in Chapter 35.02(5) of the Madison General Ordinances. Concentration limitation on discharge characteristics are spelled out in MGO 35.02(5)(b).
Glycol discharges are allowed, but require permits from both Madison Metropolitan Sewage District (MMSD) and the City.
If your wastewater contains any sort of chemicals, your first stop should be to submit a request to MMSD directly to determine if your wastewater can be discharged to the sanitary sewer. If MMSD grants approval, a sanitary discharge permit from the City of Madison is also required. There is a $100 base fee for the permit as well as a volume fee based on our current sewer rates. There is no fee charged if no discharge is made.
Generally water pumped from a construction site should not go to the sanitary sewer, unless there is potential soil or water contamination onsite, in which case a permit is required.
Discharging of clean stormwater or groundwater at a construction site is covered by your City erosion control permit. Water shall be filtered to remove sediment prior to entering the storm sewer.
For construction sites that may have contaminated soils or groundwater, your first stop should be to submit a request to MMSD to determine if your wastewater can be discharged to the sanitary sewer. If MMSD grants approval, a sanitary discharge permit from the City of Madison is also required. There is a $100 base fee for the permit as well as a volume fee based on our current sewer rates. There is no fee charged if no discharge is made.
Non-contaminated stormwater from construction sites is not allowed to discharged into the sanitary sewer and should be discharged to the storm sewer after sediment is removed.
Common household items that should not go down the sewer.
In general, only clean stormwater or groundwater can be discharged into the storm sewer. Sump pumps, downspouts, and yard drains are allowed to discharge to the City storm sewer, if it located nearby. An Excavation in the Right-of-Way Permit is required prior to any connection to the storm sewer.
Discharge of non-stormwater to the City storm sewer is regulated and permitted by the Department of Public Health. Non-stormwater discharge permit
Residential swimming pools are allowed to discharge to the City storm sewer as long as no new chemicals have been added to the water for 2 weeks. We ask that you be considerate of your neighbors and discharge it directly to the street and not through other people’s backyards.
Due to their size, commercial swimming pools require special approval before they drain. If you wish to drain your commercial pool to the City storm sewer, approval by the department of Public Health is needed. If you have an indoor pool and wish to discharge to the sanitary sewer, please contact the City Engineering to determine pumping rates and timing so as not to overload our system.
Sump Pump Connections
Sump pump connections to the sanitary sewer are not allowed and can lead to sewage backups into your basement.
Sewer Charge for Sprinkler System/Swimming Pool Water Use
A sewer deduct meter can be installed to separately calculate the water being sent to these units to subtract the volume from your utility bill; however, it is usually not economically reasonable for most residences to do so. The monthly cost of having the meter over the year typically equals, if not exceeds the sewer charge. It is estimated that a residential user would have to use in excess of 10,000 gallons of water every year for their landscaping/swimming pool to break even on the meter fee. This estimate does not include the $150 application fee or potential plumber fees to install any additional plumbing you may need for an additional meter to be installed.