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City of Madison Engineering | Photo Credit: Archie Nicolette

Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (WPDES) & the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP)

MAMSWaP

The City of Madison is a member of the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP). This group, comprised of 21 central Dane County municipalities, Dane County, and UW-Madison, submitted a joint stormwater discharge permit to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Rather than applying for the permit individually, these municipal entities joined forces to save time, money, and resources. Their web site, myfairlakes.com, has great information on how citizens' daily activities can have a positive impact on Dane County's water resources.

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BACKGROUND

Since 1991, the City of Madison has been involved in permitting stormwater discharge from our separate municipal storm sewer system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made this a requirement as part of the Clean Water Act. The City's first permit application was due in January 1993 and our first discharge permit was issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in July 1995. This permit was valid for 5 years, though it has been extended annually. Initially only Madison, Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison were required to obtain this type of permit.

The discharge permit from the WDNR/EPA included certain terms the City must meet, including monitoring stormwater discharge and reporting on existing activities like street sweeping, leaf collection, and salt use.

The monitoring requirement has been the most significant aspect of the permit regarding cost and data acquisition. The City of Madison chose to go beyond the minimum monitoring requirements of the federal register code, as no new information would have been gained otherwise. In cooperation with the WDNR, the City chose to study and monitor specific stormwater management practices for their effectiveness in reducing pollutants in receiving waters. While this decision cost more than performing the minimum requirements, valuable data has been provided as a result.

These studies have included (1) an examination of the Stormceptor® treatment device, (2) a study of phosphorus sources in residential neighborhoods, (3) a study and calibration of a developing 10 sq. mi. watershed on the west side of Madison, (4) a look at the effectiveness of street sweeping in residential neighborhoods, and (5) a study of rain gardens.

The State of Wisconsin has adopted stormwater discharge codes since 1995 that are more stringent than EPA regulations. As a result, many communities surrounding Madison have been required to obtain a stormwater discharge permit. Since the City of Madison needed a new permit, we offered to be the lead municipality for a group of the following Dane County municipalities:

Cities:

Fitchburg

Madison

Middleton

Monona

Stoughton

Sun Prairie

Verona

Villages:

Cottage Grove

DeForest

Maple Bluff

McFarland

Shorewood Hills

Waunakee

Towns:

Blooming Grove

Burke

Dunkirk

Madison

Middleton

Westport

Windsor

Other:

Dane County

University of Wisconsin-Madison