Did You Know?

Today, America’s urban clean water agencies are among the most sophisticated and effective utility organizations. Since the introduction of the Clean Water Act in 1973, most of the easy and cost effective solutions are already in place. Achieving further reductions in pollutant loadings will be disproportionately expensive relative to potential gains. And with climate change being an ever increasing risk to the effective delivery of services, the District continues to be proactive and seek out cost effective and resilient approaches.


The district serves on the Board of EnAct, a local free community program of Madison Env. Group, LLC. In 2003, the Steps to Greener Living program was developed with these goals:

  • Encourage people to take actions in their daily lives to reduce the environmental impact of their households.
  • Provide community resources that facilitate sustainable living.
  • Build community amongst participants.
  • Show measurable impacts of lifestyle changes by tracking results


Envision™ sustainable infrastructure rating system provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects. It evaluates, grades, and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use transformational, collaborative approaches to assess the sustainability indicators over the course of the project's life cycle.

Envision is being used to help the district advance sustainability for the following reasons:

  • Acknowledge, improve and communicate high levels of achievement in sustainability
  • Help the District’s design teams to collaborate and discuss, "Are we doing the right project?" and, "Are we doing the project right?"
  • Make decisions about the investment of scarce resources
  • Include community priorities in civil infrastructure projects

The Envision™ tools help the project design team:

  • Assess costs and benefits over the project lifecycle
  • Evaluate environmental benefits
  • Use outcome-based objectives
  • Reach higher levels of sustainability achievement

Envision™ has assessment tools that can be used for infrastructure projects of all types, sizes, complexities, and locations.


Imagine a world where every drop of water is respected. That decisions today are made so that life will be even better for future generations. The district has a long standing commitment to sustainability from protecting public health and the environment to managing community resources responsibly and cost effectively. The current sustainability initiatives for the district are listed below.



Currently, the district produces over 30% of its energy through the production of methane gas in the wastewater treatment process. This is a long-term, stable, renewable energy source. The district also seeks to become energy independent and is developing a road map to energy independence. The road map was completed in 2014.


Energy Baseline and Optimization Roadmap Study


Resource Recovery

  • The district is in the midst of developing a white paper that will identify potential local uses for treated effluent.

  • The district is one of the first wastewater utilities to adopt a struvite harvesting process called Ostara. This process removes a pollutant from the water and turns it into a valuable fertilizer product.


In 2013, the district enrolled in Sustain Dane's MPower Business ChaMpion Program. It is a one year, fully-customizable way to take advantage of dozens of sustainability resources and experts in an effort to reduce waste and energy use, increase employee engagement, and create a healthy, vibrant workplace. The district has several projects and is working to roll out a sustainability strategy that will enable us to achieve measurable results on our campus. Click here to see a few of our employee led projects.

 MPower Green Week - Alternate Transportation Day

Madsewer Bikers
The Madsewer Bikers are a group of employees who log their rides to compete in the annual National Bike Challenge. The challenge started in 2012 and runs from May 1st to September 30th each year.  The Madsewer Bikers have consistently finished in the top 20 workplaces in Wisconsin and the top 200 in the nation. Click on the link below to see how the team is doing this year.

National Bike Challenge


50 Year Master Plan
The district's 50 Year Master Plan outlines a long term vision for the future of wastewater management. To move toward this vision, the district continues to transform itself and evolve as an organization. Recognizing the need for continual change, the district has participated in two national efforts to bring more specificity to some next steps for evolving the utility industry and to translate them into best practices that can be used here in Madison. 

  • The Water Resources Utility of the Future: A Blueprint for Action, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Water Environment Research Fund, Water Environment Federation, 2013. Click here to view the PDF.

  • Moving Toward Sustainability: Water Sector Utility Road map of Effective Practices, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2013. Click here to view the PDF.