Watershed Improvement Network

Yahara WINs (watershed improvement network), alongside MGE  is working to reduce algae-forming phosphorus pollution that enters our lakes and waterways. This effort builds on steps we already have taken to reduce phosphorus and other pollutants.

  • Is a four-year pilot program spearheaded by the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, Dane County, MGE, municipalities, and others.
  • Focuses on phosphorus pollution from large non-point source contributors like farms, construction sites, and urban runoff.
  • Traditional approaches that focused on point sources, like sewerage treatment and power plants, have had limited success.
  • Evaluates strategies like winter crop cover and soil stabilization.

This innovative phosphorus-control program is one of the most flexible and affordable approaches nationwide. Learn more about this effort at Yahara WINs.


Dewatering Practices: Some underground utility construction work must be performed in dry conditions. In such cases, MGE  discharges accumulated water from utility vaults and manholes into nearby storm drainage systems. This untreated water, which may contain sediment, then enters natural water bodies. To meet water quality standards and protect our water system, MGE :

  • Tested various filtration options.
  • Identified and now follows best practices for vault dewatering. One example is a specialized end-of-hose filter that removes sediment from water prior to discharge.

Other Efforts

Other efforts include MGE taking additional steps to protect the local water system.

  • Purchase energy produced from a manure digester. The digester converts cow manure from local farms into electricity. It also helps clean area lakes by reducing phosphorus.
  • Use available space at Blount Generating Station’s coal yard for snow handling. Coal yard runoff goes through a wastewater treatment system, which prevents sediment from being washed into our storm sewers and lakes.
  • Maintain a stormwater filtration system in our parking lot that filters out pollutants and collects treated water for discharge.
  • Implement erosion-control measures at all work sites. MGE’s updated erosion-control program outlines best practices to minimize the likelihood of soil being washed out of a site.