Archived News: This news release is more than one year old and may include outdated information.

The Engineering Division is asking the public to give comments on its updated stormwater ordinance and attend upcoming public information meetings.

Comments should be emailed to by April 10, 2020. Public information meetings are scheduled for the following time, date and locations:

  • 3-5 p.m., Feb. 26, 2020, Room 206, Madison Municipal Building,
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison, WI 53703
  • 6-8 p.m., March 5, 2020, Goodman Park Maintenance Facility,
    1402 Wingra Creek Parkway, Madison, WI  53715
  • 6-8 p.m., March 24, 2020, Room 206, Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison, WI 53703

*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.

Over the past three years, the City of Madison and surrounding areas have experienced a large number of extreme storm events. The abundance of rainwater from the storms caused flash flooding and elevated lake levels, which also flooded low-lying areas in and adjacent to the Isthmus area. The active weather pattern has put pressure on the City’s stormwater sewer, which is the underground pipe system that catches water runoff and moves it to the area’s local waterways. When the stormwater system is overloaded with too much storm or rainwater, either in heavy rainstorms or multiple heavy rainstorms in a short amount of time, flooding happens. The stormwater sewer should not be confused with the City’s sanitary sewer, which is an underground pipe system that moves waste water from resident homes to a wastewater treatment plant.

The current stormwater sewer cannot support the heaviest rains, especially in certain areas. To minimize flooding, the City of Madison responded with watershed studies of the impacted areas, focus groups within specific neighborhoods to collaborate with neighbors in person, and a review of the City’s stormwater design standards, which affects both new and redevelopments. 

Madison General Ordinance Chapter 37 includes requirements for water quality, water quantity and erosion control design standards for anyone who wants to build in the City of Madison. City engineers reviewed the current ordinance and standards. Based on the recent heavier rainfall the area is experiencing, City engineers updated the standards to support expected larger and more intense rain storms.

The proposed changes are posted to the City Engineering website, ready for review and feedback.

*Correction: The original version of this release showed a March 3 meeting date, which was a typo. The correct date for the second meeting has since been updated to the correct date of March 5.