Milwaukee, WI - Leaky mains could mean suburban fines : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

(Published Tuesday, June 27, 2000 9:24:21 AM CDT)

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE-- Suburbs whose broken sewer mains are blamed in part for sewage flowing into Lake Michigan could be fined as much as $10,000 a day for not making repairs, a legislator suggested.

Rep. Shirley Krug, a member of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District commission, told fellow commissioners Monday that the district's 28 communities should be reminded of the potential fine in hope of encouraging maintenance.

Untreated sewage leaking into storm sewers helped contaminate rain water that flowed into the district's 405-million-gallon underground system of storage tunnels during downpours in May and June.

Authorities authorized the dumping of more than 1 billion gallons of raw sewage into Lake Michigan tributaries in May and 16 million gallons in June.

District executive director Anne Spray Kinney said June 22 the spill did not violate the district's water-quality permit.

But aldermen, legislators and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked why the storage system, built for $2.8 billion, had not worked fully.

Complaints about the overflow should spur the district to urge its customer communities to make repairs, said Klug, D-Milwaukee. The commission has authority to levy fines.

"We need a more aggressive stand. Otherwise we'll be hearing the same problem three years from now," she said.

The district said last week it would invest $800,000 in demonstration projects on plugging sewer leaks.

Mayor John O. Norquist has suggested adopting an ordinance that would require repairs of defective lateral mains that link homes and businesses to the sewer network. Repairs would be mandatory when a property is sold.

Contractors have estimated the costs of lateral repairs between $2,000 and $20,000.

In other matters, the commission awarded a treatment-plant improvement project to J.F. Ahern Co. of Fond du Lac for $9.5 million, $375,000 more than the lowest bidder, Advance Mechanical Contractors of Racine.

The Racine company's lawyer, Thomas Devine, said his client will consider filing a claim against the district.

-- Doris (, June 27, 2000

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