A Business Plan to Establish Nation’s Third, and Great Lakes’ First Community-based Partnership in Greater Milwaukee Region

Milwaukee, WI

In January 2019, Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities (RISC) engaged a team that included CIS to assist the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) by developing a business plan to assess the viability and relevance of using a community-based partnership (CBP) to dramatically increase stormwater capture capacity within its service area.

Project Scope

  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Research & Analyses
  • Business Model/Plan Development
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure
  • Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permits
  • Local Workforce Development Program
  • Mentorship of Local Businesses

MMSD had reduced its sewer overflows from 50-60 per year in the early 1990s to an average of 2.3 per year by 2020s, and established ambitious goals for the future that include zero overflows by 2035. In that same timeframe, it also aims to capture the first half-inch of rainfall on all impervious surfaces, the equivalent of 740 million gallons of stormwater. To meet its goals, MMSD needed to deploy a new framework to incentivize and rapidly scale-up the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in its service area. The Fresh Coast Protection Partnership (FCPP) is a first step in that direction.


As recommended in the final report of the project, MMSD signed a long-term CBP, the FCPP, to achieve a minimum of 8.5 million gallons of stormwater capture capacity. An impressive step by MMSD, it established the first ever CBP model in the Great Lakes region. 

The model provided an improvement in risk sharing with a private partner, delivery and cost surety for installation and maintenance of GSI; maximized pricing efficiencies by combining economies of scale and increasing competition in the contractor marketplace; and ensured quality-certified projects by a contracted third-party. Finally, CBP model provided capital sources for investors looking for greater surety and predictability of their investment.


Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
Great Lakes Protection Fund


2019 – 2020