MMSD Sustainability Solar Panels



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.   

Climate Bond Certified



Renewable Energy

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 things over which we have some control.

Energy Plan

MMSD's Landfill Gas Project

Solar Power @ Jones Island

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



“Our climate is changing, and we need to change with it. Increasing intense storms in our region make sewer overflows and flooding bigger threats. Incremental steps taken now will help us reduce these risks in the future.

While water flows downhill, adapting to climate change is a serious uphill battle. Nevertheless, if each of us takes steps to manage rainwater where it falls, we can reduce the risk of basement and street flooding and the amount of water that leaks into our sanitary systems causing sewer overflows.

You can help! Install a rain barrel or build a rain garden. These green infrastructure improvements or just reducing the water we use each day will help us adapt”

Kevin Shafer, P.E. - MMSD Executive Director

Kevin Shafer


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.


Sustainable Community Solutions:


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.

MMSD Water Drop Alert

Text: WATERDROP to 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 until the rain passes. 

What do you do when an alert is issued?

  • Hold off on washing dishes and laundry
  • Take a shorter shower 
  • Empty your rain barrel
Install a Milwaukee Rain Barrel

Install a Rain Barrel

Get FREE water by the barrel from your roof and use it when it’s dry outside to use in your landscape.  Rain barrels help keep excess water out of the sewer system and help reduce water pollution.