Milwaukee (AP) – The dumping of untreated sewage into Lake Michigan tributaries during extensive rains in May could bring almost $1 million in penalties for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.
The state Department of Natural Resources announced regulatory actions against the district and six area municipalities.
Dumping violations were reported by the MMSD and various Milwaukee area communities, she said.
“And if there is a violation, then we have the authority to seek enforcement against all of the different systems that are reporting overflows,” Schlaefer said.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said maximum fines against MMSD could total nearly $1 million, based on the maximum $10,000 per day for each dumping point. Action against 12 municipalities that dumped lesser volumes from sewers also was expected.
The DNR issued a notice of violation Thursday against the MMSD, Cudahy, Whitefish Bay, city of Milwaukee, Elm Grove, Hales Corners and West Allis. The cases could then be sent to the state Justice Department, which could file civil charges that carry monetary forfeitures.
The MMSD reported dumping 4.6 billion gallons of untreated wastewater last month, including nearly 500 million gallons from separate sanitary sewers that serve newer parts of Milwaukee and nearly all its suburbs.
The MMSD’s operating permit prohibits most dumping from sanitary sewers, although it allows up to six instances of dumping of the more diluted sewage from combined storm and sanitary sewers that serve central Milwaukee and half of Shorewood.
An additional 3.4 million gallons of untreated sewage were dumped by the city of Milwaukee and 11 suburbs served by the district at 29 locations during May.
Also, South Milwaukee, the only community in Milwaukee County that has its own treatment plant and is not a part of the MMSD, dumped 1.7 million gallons of sewage.
The Daily Reporter contributed to this report.