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 Madison Common Council approved the changes June 2, 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. The adopted ordinance changes are 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 Recorded Meeting
March 5, 2020 Presentation

April 23, 2020 Recorded Meeting

Press Releases:

April 16, 2020: Final Stormwater Ordinance Changes Meeting to be Offered Virtually

Feb. 3, 2020: City Asks for Public Feedback on Stormwater Ordinance

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