May 13 is Madison’s annual compost bin and rain barrel event


By Bryant Moroder

For more than 20 years, Madison has hosted this annual event which has provided discounted compost bins and rain barrels to tens of thousands of area homeowners. This year’s event is Saturday, May 13, 10 am‒2 pm, at the Alliant Energy Center in the northeast parking lot.

The event is part of a community-wide program by the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) to promote practices that reduce and improve stormwater runoff into Dane County lakes, rivers and streams. The Ripple Effect campaign is an effort to help homeowners understand three important facts:

Rain that runs off roofs, land and pavement travels through storm sewers and ditches into our lakes, rivers and streams.

Stormwater runoff carries excess nutrients, like phosphorus, which feed the algae that turn our lakes green and smelly.

The way to protect and clean your lakes and streams is to make sure only rain — and nothing else — goes into the storm drains and ditches.

It is estimated that runoff from our urban communities contributes 30 percent of the total phosphorus that enters Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Wingra. By harvesting rainwater for your indoor and outdoor plants and putting clippings and leaves in a backyard composter, you not only make plants healthier, you also reduce runoff and the phosphorus that feeds our algae problem.

At the May 13 event, 50-gallon rain barrels and compost bins are $30 off, and 100-gallon rain barrels are $85 off. Pre-order online before May 1 using the promo code MAD17 and save an additional $10. For more information visit