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MMSD to dump $16 million into pump stations

By Marie Rohde

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is planning to spend $16 million to build two pump stations that are capable of dumping untreated sewage, diluted by rain, into local water ways.

The plan, announced at last week’s meeting with local governmental officials, raised no eyebrows. The city and suburban leaders were more concerned — and more wary of — the district’s plan to spend $151 million. That’s part of the cost of fixing leaky laterals on private property.

The dumping is supposed to prevent the nasty stuff from backing up into local basements as it did during July storms this year and several other times in recent years. More than 10,000 homes and businesses were damaged by backups this summer, some more than once.

One of the pump stations will be located in Estabrook Park. It will provide relief to portions of Glendale and Milwaukee. The other, located at North 59th Street and West Trenton Place, will provide protection for parts of Wauwatosa, West Allis and Milwaukee.

The way the pumps work is that when the sewers are overfilled, they will start pumping the stuff directly into the nearby rivers. One hitch is that the deep tunnel system (the storage tanks deep below ground) will have to be filled before the pumps can operate.

District officials noted that the high volume of rain getting into local sewers caused backups before the flow even reached the district’s sewers leading to the tunnel. So it may not be an absolute protection.

Cross your fingers for a relatively dry spring and summer for 2011. The pumps won’t be operational until 2012.

Marie Rohde is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter. By “nasty stuff” she means raw sewage.

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