The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

From Vicki McKenna: COMBINED SEWERS--age-old debate.

Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, MMSD, Vicki McKenna

SEWERS--age old debate.


Just got this from a guy who's been trying to get the city to do something about the deep tunnel.  Below is his memo on benefits of switching over to a separated system, and at the end is the MUST read OLD NEWS QUOTES from the 50s on the flooded basements and problems w/a combined sewer system.  Unreal.




Our neighbor to the north, the city of St. Paul, Minnesota separated their sewers over ten years and many Wisconsin legislators think that the city of Milwaukee should do the same thing.


In St. Paul, the last pipes in the construction for their ten-year Combined Street and Sewer Program (CSSP) went in the ground in 1995. Here's what 10 years of CSSP construction has done for Saint Paul's infrastructure:


• Over 150 miles of storm sewers installed


• 168 miles of streets paved


• Over one-million tons of asphalt was used in paving


• About 336 miles of curbing laid


• Over 8,200 handicap ramps placed in sidewalks


• Over 1.5 million square yards of sod laid - that's enough to cover

281 football fields


• Over 6,806 new street lights were installed


• Over 11,000 trees were planted in boulevards


• Over 15,000 acres of area with combined sewers now separated


• Over 28,252,000 cubic feet of storm water runoff eliminated from sanitary sewer system


• 21,900 residential properties disconnected downspouts


• 6,140 commercial properties disconnected downspouts or drainage systems


• 653 million gallons per year removed from treatment plant at a

savings of $767,000


• Over 238 miles of gas main installed


• Over 25,000 of gas services were renewed or replaced


• Over 3,500 lead water service connections replaced


• About 26 miles of water main replaced


• Over 100 contractors did work on the sewer separation projects


• 10 years of CSSP construction has improved the water quality of the Mississippi River


For generations the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities and downstream had been avoided by people who not only considered it a resource of poor water quality, but who had hundreds of other attractive lakes and rivers to use in water-rich Minnesota.


Residents and visitors have flocked to the cities' lakes or gone "up north" to find good fishing, water sports and other recreational activities.  Until 1995, the riverbanks were mostly left for industrial development.  Much like Milwaukee today, the St. Paul parks that did line its shores were often underused.


The acceleration of the St. Paul sewer separation program has brought about significant improvement in the quality of the region's most accessible waters - the 72-mile metropolitan stretch of the Mississippi River.  The following are viewed as indicators of the improved water quality:


• Pollution-sensitive Hexagenia mayfly returned to Twin Cities stretch of river

after 30 year absence.


• Metropolitan Council Wastewater Services' monitoring data showed

significant drop in fecal bacteria levels in river area affected by sewer



• Bald eagles return to Twin Cities stretch of river.


• Fish population and diversity have recovered from 3 species to over 25 species.


• DNR established catch and release fishing regulations to protect lunker walleyes

pulled from metropolitan stretch of Mississippi River.


Marina construction and/or expansion nearly double amount of boat slips.


• City and area business invested millions to revive Saint Paul riverfront.


• Other benefits of sewer separation in St. Paul:

Mississippi River Boulevard reconstruction

Creation of the new Lower Landing Park

New Flood Wall construction

New public dock

Padelford Packet Boat Co., Inc. expands with addition of two new riverboats

Covington Inn/No Wake Cafe

Improved water quality renews interest in river recreational activities.

American Scholarship Bass Tournament

A hiking and biking trails

Mayor's Fishing Opener Event

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Water Music on a Barge concerts

Delta Queen Steamboat Co. arrivals

McKnight Foundation begins program of grants to stimulate the development of environmental demonstration projects on the Mississippi River.

Congress establishes Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (includes Twin Cities stretch of Mississippi River) as a unit of the national park system.

Saint Paul's Combined Street and Sewer Program (CSSP)


The goal of Saint Paul's Combined Street and Sewer Program (CSSP) was the same as Milwaukee- that is to stop pollution of area waterways caused by the overflow of untreated sewage from combined sanitary and storm water sewers during large rainstorms and snow melt runoff. To do so, the City of St. Paul has been building separate sewer systems in areas where they were combined.


The Combined Sewer Overflow Problem


Most of the rain and snow melt runoff is conveyed in separate pipes directly to the region's rivers, lakes or special holding ponds. But older pipes in Minneapolis, St. Paul and South St. Paul carry both the surface runoff and sewage - hence the name "combined sewers.”  The combined sewers leading to the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant are not large enough to handle the huge volume of runoff after a large storm or rapid snowmelt.  So in order to avoid hazardous sewer backups in homes and businesses or overloading the treatment plant, the excess combined sewage and storm water was discharged to the Mississippi River when it reaches critical levels in the sewer systems. This discharge is called "combined sewer overflow," or "CSO." CSO was a problem in St. Paul because it lowered the water quality of the Mississippi River.  It is a problem in the city of Milwaukee today.


Beginning in 1938, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to construct major metropolitan sewerage plants in the St. Paul area, which now treat about 100 billion gallons of wastewater annually.  Unfortunately with their old combined sewer systems, a large amount of wastewater never reached those treatment plants.


In 1984 St. Paul engineers estimated that an average of 4.6 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm water was annually overflowing into the Mississippi River with discharges occurring an average of every three days. Realizing the pollution problems created by the old combined sewers, St. Paul began separating their combined sewers as part of ongoing capital improvement projects. According to the city's construction schedule, total sewer separation would not be completed in St. Paul until the year 2025.


Yet the public demanded a faster fix. Governors Rudy Perpich of Minnesota and Anthony Earl of Wisconsin and their administrators conferred on the CSO issue in response to calls for action from agencies, public interest groups, legislators and citizens. At a 1984 news conference and public picnic at Prescott, Wisconsin, arranged at their request by the actively involved Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission, the two governors announced a plan to complete the remaining CSO control work within ten years, instead of up to 40 years.


The Accelerated ten-year CSO Control Program


The Minnesota Legislature adopted the accelerated cleanup plan in 1985 with new state CSO funding and a statutory ten-year deadline for completion of the work.  St. Paul had already recognized the benefit of sewer separation and separated about 64 percent of the area originally served by combined sewers.  The deadline meant the remaining separation work had to be completed by 1995.


We believe those if the city of St. Paul, Minnesota can separate their combined sewers so can the city of Milwaukee.  WUCA members, area residents, and people who know the problem have argued for Milwaukee sewer separation since 1979.  Area contractors, consulting engineers, and suppliers and other related industry people believe that the real problem with Milwaukee sewerage overflows to Lake Michigan is the result of the old combined sewers and that separation will solve the overflow problems once and for all. Sewer separation would also provide much needed construction jobs for Milwaukee residents and area small businesses.  That proved true in St. Paul as new construction related jobs were provided.  Both large and small local firms also benefited economically to include disadvantaged business enterprise trucking, aggregate, paving, landscape, and underground contractors.


The Milwaukee project is doable, and WUCA calls for a legislative study to see the feasibility of moving with sewer separation in this community.


Source: Much of this St. Paul data was found on the Internet for that community.



WUCA memo: September 3, 2002



SEWERAGE DISTRICT EXPANSION TO OUTING AREAS URGED (Excerpt from Monday December 17, 1956 Milwaukee Journal)


Most city and sewerage officials agreed Monday with the governor’s water and sewer study committee on expanding the metropolitan sewerage district and spending 52 million dollars in the next 43 years for new sewerage treatment facilities.  But Lloyd D. Knapp, commissioner of public works, charged that the committee report was prejudiced on one point.  He took exception to the committee’s criticism that while re-paving streets in older sections, the city failed to lay new storm water sewers.  These would separate storm waters from existing combined and sanitary sewers that cover the old sections of the city and would relieve the overloaded combined sewer.


The committee’s point was that whenever possible, when streets are re-paved, storm sewers should be installed to eliminate rainwater from sanitary sewers and thus reduce the overload on Jones Island disposal plant.


The 1956 news article went further to quote then Milwaukee Mayor Zeidler…Any program, to be fully successful, must find a solution to the flooding of basements of Milwaukee homes during heavy rain storms and winter thaws.


After 54 years, area basement flooding still occurs because the city of Milwaukee and the Village of Shorewood have failed to separate their storm and sanitary sewers.


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