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MMSD Green Luminary® Award | Milwaukee Public Library

07/12/22 08:00:am



Spread across multiple branches, the Milwaukee Public Library can capture nearly 200,000 gallons of stormwater every rainfall using a variety of green infrastructure to manage water where it falls and help protect our community.

Through a wide variety of green infrastructure (GI) types, such as a green roofrain gardensbioswales, and porous pavement, the Milwaukee Public Library has been doing its part to manage water where it falls since 2009. Spread across multiple branches, and highlighted by a 30,000-square-foot green roof atop the Central Library, they have added nearly 200,000 gallons of stormwater management capacity to the Milwaukee area.

Most recently, Milwaukee Public Library completed renovations at five branch locations partially funded through Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program (GIPP). The projects contribute nearly 65,000 gallons of capacity to the overall total and consist of renovations at the Center Street, Atkinson, Bay View, Washington Park, and Zablocki branches. All five branches are located in highly urbanized areas surrounded by impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, and driveways).

The renovations were timed with Milwaukee Public Library plans to address other needs at the locations, in particular, improved Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility and traffic flow, saving both time and money.  All of the locations are well suited to further educate the public on local water issues.

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    The Milwaukee Public Library Green Roof

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    Rain Garden at the Milwaukee Public Library

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    Porous Pavers at the Milwaukee Public Library 

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    Bioswale at the Milwaukee Public Library

What is a Green Luminary® Award?

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District gives Green Luminary® awards to businesses, organizations, and communities that implement exceptional green infrastructure design projects that benefit our lakes and rivers, as well as our communities.

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How You Can Help Protect Lake Michigan

disconnect your downspout in milwaukee

Downspout Disconnection

During heavy rain, every downspout on your home can send 12 gallons of water a minute to the sewer system, which increases the risk of sewer water backing up into your basement and overflowing into our rivers and lake Michigan. Disconnect your downspout and help keep excess water out of sanitary sewers and into your yard or a rain garden.

MMSD Water Drop Alert

Text: WATERDROP to 414-296-4422 for Española texto GOTADEAGUA a 414-296-4422

Receive Water Drop Alert text messages when heavy rain threatens the area. When a Water Drop Alert has been issued, a reminder is sent to use less water.

What do you do when an alert is issued?

  • Hold off on washing dishes and laundry
  • Take a shorter shower 
  • Empty your rain barrel
Rain Garden in a yard

Plant a Rain Garden

Rain gardens help reduce sewer overflows and water pollution by absorbing stormwater runoff from hard surfaces into the ground naturally. Learn how to plant a rain garden and help protect Lake Michigan.