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Milwaukee Church Breaks Ground with MMSD on 1.8 Million Gallon Green Infrastructure Project

05/25/21 02:00:pm

(Milwaukee, WI) The Fresh Coast Protection Partnership (FCPP), the community-based partnership between Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Corvias announces the construction of its first green infrastructure (GI) project at the New Testament Church of Milwaukee.  The partnership, approved in 2019, was developed to implement and manage green infrastructure projects across MMSDs service area through an integrated delivery approach that provides innovation, efficiency, and inclusion in support of MMSDs overarching goals to reduce overflow volumes, localized flooding, and improving water quality.

The New Testament Church of Milwaukee constructed wetland project is the first project in the Program’s pilot phase of work to get to construction.  New Testament Church is situated on 64 acres, located on the northwest side of the City of Milwaukee with a congregation of approximately 850 members. 

This project, located in the Menomonee River Watershed, will consist of a constructed wetland, to capture and treat 1.86 million gallons of stormwater from the surrounding area. In addition to managing water where it falls, the constructed wetland will also help to clean stormwater before it is released into the little Menomonee River and offer habitat for wildlife. 

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This project will also provide educational opportunities supporting STEM education at New Testament Church Christian Academy, creating access to equitable opportunities for environmental education for students and members of the community.

What is the Fresh Coast Protection Program?

The FCPP is a 3-year public-private partnership. The FCPP is intended to help MMSD ramp up green infrastructure (GI) implementation to meet the 2035 Vision goal of capturing the first half-inch of rainfall across impervious surfaces within MMSD's Service Area.  Between 2020 and 2022, MMSD along with its partner Corvias will plan, design, bid, and build nearly 8.5 million gallons of stormwater capture capacity with GI. The GI projects are expected to be built in both the separate and combined sewer areas.  The combined sewer area is found in older parts in older parts of the City of Milwaukee and the Village of Shorewood. In this area, sanitary sewage and stormwater both feed into the same sewer pipes, sometimes leading to sewer overflows and basement back-ups.

MMSD Fresh Coast Protection Partnership

MMSD has a long history of providing funding for GI to public and private partners. Increasing numbers of intense rain events and the incorporation of GI into MMSD's permit have pushed MMSD to do more to be resilient in the face of climate change.  The FCPP will push beyond the scope of previous GI programs to better direct where GI is placed (to maximize benefits), how it is designed, and how it is constructed. This will help MMSD find efficiencies in achieving its GI goals. Corvias works with local planning and engineering firms to select project locations and then gives MMSD the opportunity to provide critical feedback and accept or reject projects. In addition to having input on project location, the FCPP transfers financial risk to the private partner (Corvias) and incorporates quality control measures.  Quality control measures such as minimum design standards and third-party project certification are in place to ensure that projects are well-built and achieve the expected stormwater detention capacity.

The FCPP also gives additional focus on building a more robust consulting and construction industry around GI by creating a robust Mentor Protégé program to build GI skills and experience.  Furthermore, the FCPP has set higher goals for small, women, minority, and veteran-owned business enterprise (SWMBE) participation; the current goal across FCPP activities is 25% participation. Lastly, the FCPP looks to integrate community outreach and stakeholder engagement to build awareness of GI and obtain participation and support for the Program.

Program Goals:

  • Make GI a more affordable alternative to grey infrastructure

  • Reduce overflow volume and regional flooding

  • Build local GI capacity and participation in the Milwaukee region

Program Objectives:

  • Help MMSD to achieve compliance with MMSD’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit
  • Help MMSD’s participating municipalities meet Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements
  • Reduce the cost per gallon of GI storage
  • Attain a goal of certified small, women, minority, and veteran-owned Business Enterprises (SWMBE) of 25 percent or higher
  • Partner with local workforce development programs
  • Provide mentoring of emerging businesses
  • Identify non-traditional funding sources that can be leveraged

green roof on business

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure captures, absorbs or stores rain and melting snow, taking on numerous shapes and sizes from 55-gallon rain barrels to trees and porous pavers for parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. You can see green roofs on buildings or bioswales along city streets.

Greenseams Flood Management MMSD


Greenseams® helps prevent future flooding and water pollution while supporting and protecting MMSD's structural flood management projects - infrastructure investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Greenseams® is an innovative flood management program that permanently protects key lands containing water absorbing soils.

Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center

Fresh Coast Guardians

Are you a homeowner, organization, or business looking for help on installing green infrastructure? Contact the Fresh Coast Guardians Resource Center to get started today.