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Sustainability is a rich part of the MMSD history, integral to present-day operations, and critical to our future. Focused initially on water reclamation and resource recovery, our mission is evolving over time to encompass many overlapping facets of environmental and public health.
Cleaning water is very energy-intensive. That's one reason why MMSD's goal is to produce our own and be energy self-sufficient by the year 2035.
MMSD knows it’s important to continue to minimize energy use and switch to domestic, secure forms of energy. Doing so can save money, reduce price volatility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide energy security. In the context of supply and demand, energy conservation (i.e., demand) and renewable energy (i.e., supply) are areas in which we have some control.
MMSD's Landfill Gas Project
Sewer Heat Recovery
Food is Fuel
In southeastern Wisconsin, two of the most intense rainfall events in the past three decades occurred in 2010 and 2008, causing millions of dollars in flood damage. Predicting the next big storm is impossible, but we do need to be prepared. Intense storms challenge our ability to build, operate, and maintain MMSD’s robust infrastructure, so we’re continually planning to make sure we're as ready as possible.
We know it’s important to do our part to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To do this, we first inventoried our GHG emissions in 2010, and are updating that work now. Our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by 90% from baseline conditions by 2035.
Updates and Recommendations to the MMSD’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programs
MMSD Climate Change Vulnerability Report
Adaptation Strategies for Water Utilities - U.S. EPA
Confronting Climate Change - NACWA
Green House Gas Inventory - MMSD
Cleaning water is very energy-intensive, therefore, MMSD utilizes renewable energy to reduce energy costs, price volatility, greenhouse gases and provide energy security. Shown below is our renewable energy usage, for the last 365 days, at our two water reclamation facilities.
Kevin Shafer, P.E. - MMSD Executive Director
MMSD 2035 Vision
MMSD envisions a healthier Milwaukee region and a cleaner Lake Michigan accomplished through its leadership in attaining zero overflows, zero basement backups, and improved stormwater management. MMSD will be a model in its management of climate change impacts on wet weather and its focus on energy-efficient and sustainable operations.
MMSD Sustainability Plan
MMSD will continue to play a strong role in this region’s collaborative efforts to improve the region’s water resources. This is a crucial responsibility that builds heavily on our sustainable past and relies on relationships with partners throughout Greater Milwaukee. By identifying and assembling partner combinations for projects and programs, we can help ensure a sustainable tomorrow.
MMSD Urban Biodiversity Plan
This plan identifies goals and strategies for enhancing urban biodiversity in the MMSD planning area by making recommendations for incorporating biodiversity into green infrastructure and other projects, identifying high priority conservation and rehabilitation areas, and suggesting future areas for research, monitoring, and education/outreach.
MMSD Resilience Plan
This plan is a framework for how the Milwaukee metropolitan area can address complex threats for a stronger, more resilient region. To realize a more sustainable, resilient future for our community we first need to understand the social, economic and environmental climate of the Milwaukee region.
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.
A Green Luminary® helps protect our rivers and Lake Michigan by adopting practices that harvest rainfall for other uses, or mimic nature, by helping it soak into the ground to reduce water pollution. View previous Green Luminary® award winners from the MMSD service area.
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.