Madison Groundwater Pumping Alert


Why is City of Madison Pumping Groundwater Down the Stormdrain?

A resident of Madison’s Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood alerted me this evening (5.25.17) that the street reconstruction project on Sprague St. had likely hit a groundwater vein and that crews had set up a pumping system to send the water down the storm drain at the corner of Monroe St.  See photo below.  The resident said the pumping was going on 24/7.


Groundwater being pumped into storm drain at Sprague and Monroe Streets.


We will be following this event over the next few days and weeks but right now we know that by a conservative estimate about 100 gallons per minute (gpm) are flowing down the storm drain and mixing with polluted storm water, and then on to Lake Wingra.

Think about that.  Twenty four hours at 100 gpm equals 144,000 gallons of groundwater down the drain.  In just one day.

Problem is, the water flowing to Lake Wingra will not be clear, clean spring water but contaminated storm water.


The pumping system is shown in the above photo.  

If this were a broken water main supplying fresh water to homes and businesses, City water utility crews would likely be on the scene immediately to make repairs.

We don’t know what the City’s short or long term solution is.  Will the groundwater pumping continue over the long Memorial Day weekend, or not.

Stay tuned.

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist practicing and writing in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Restoration ecology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Madison Groundwater Pumping Alert

  1. George Parrino says:

    My guess is they are pumping groundwater to lower the water table in order to install utilities in the street. According to both state and city code the water must meet turbidity standards prior to being directed into the storm water system. As Lake Wingra is basically a storm water pond, an influx of cold clean ground water is beneficial to the lake.

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