2016 City of Madison Water Quality Update

Upper Yahara treatment pond City of Madison water quality

Urban Actions: City of Madison Water Quality Update

In 2016, the City of Madison worked on projects and programs to improve water quality, including:

Upper Yahara River Treatment

Upper Yahara Stormwater Treatment.

Upper Yahara Stormwater Treatment. Photo by Phil Gaebler.

From 2012 to 2017, the City of Madison has designed and installed three wet detention basins that provide treatment for 480 acres that previously drained untreated stormwater into the Upper Yahara River. In an average year, these basins remove over 220 pounds of phosphorus. The ponds have been planted with native wetland plants, which create habitat and forage for wildlife in addition to the water quality benefits.

Owen Conservation Park

2016-city-of-madison_owens-park-regenerative swale conveyance

City of Madison Owens Park Regenerative Swale Conveyance

The City’s first regenerative swale conveyance device was installed in Owen Park in 2016, joining drainage way upgrades made in 2013. The structure consists of a series of infiltration cells planted with native plants and small rock dams. The swale receives water from an upstream detention basin and provides an opportunity for water to soak into the ground before it drains into the channel.

Wingra Watershed Plan

Rain Garden Ben Yahr City of Madison water quality

Wingra Watershed Rain Garden. Photo by Ben Yahr.

The City of Madison in conjunction with Friends of Lake Wingra has completed the Wingra Watershed Plan, which was adopted in 2016. This plan addresses issues with chlorides, phosphorus, and increased runoff volume. The recommendations and projects listed in the report will guide water quality efforts around Lake Wingra. See page 19 for more information about ongoing work by the Friends of Lakes Wingra and partners.

Visit the City of Madison website to learn more.


This update was originally published in May of 2017 for the 2016 State of the Lakes Annual Report.

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