Gary Wilson

Changing Politics Could Hurt Great Lakes

Regional Republican governors like Scott Walker are less interested in efforts to protect the lakes.

By , Great Lakes Echo - Apr 26th, 2015 08:10 pm
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Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-12.

Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2011-12.

The 2016 presidential election is 19 months away and there’s no shortage of politicians who want to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It seems like a rare day when someone doesn’t announce their candidacy.

Like some candidates, the process may seem frivolous now. But this is serious business.

The political tailwind the Great Lakes have had since 2008 will likely shift no matter who wins the presidency in 2016. And remember, even President Barack Obama hasn’t been a Great Lakes panacea.

One of this gaggle of candidates will be president in January of 2017. That causes me to think about what a new administration may mean for the Great Lakes.

You see, in 2007 Cameron Davis told a group of Great Lakes activists gathered in Chicago that “the region’s waterways need a “new standard of care.” One that would “be about proactively, positively restoring the Great Lakes so that this generation leaves it better than the way we found it.”

Davis was president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes at the time. Now he leads the EPA’s Great Lakes restoration plan after Obama tapped him for the job in 2009.

His “new standard of care” became the mantra as the brand spanking new Obama administration started to make good on a campaign pledge to invest billions of dollars in the Great Lakes.

It’s not only presidential elections that matter.

Two governors in 2007 kept Great Lakes water where it belongs – in the Great Lakes basin.

Politicians in arid regions were talking about tankers and pipelines transporting water from Lake Superior to spray on farm fields and golf courses.

But Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft were having none of that.

They spearheaded passage of the Great Lakes Compact that legally — we hope, it hasn’t been tested yet — closed the door to water exports and sent a message outside the region: Live within your water means because the Great Lakes are not an option.

The nascent start to restore the Great Lakes by Obama and the passage of the Great Lakes Compact were big deals. They were years in the making and took the proverbial cast of thousands to get done.

Those were heady days for the region when the restoration and conservation stars aligned with the right mix of politicians. Lightning in a bottle had been caught.

But things change.

Obama kept his campaign promise of billions of dollars for the Great Lakes. But he has stonewalled activists who wanted him to support physical separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River to keep Asian carp at bay. And his budgets have included cuts for clean water infrastructure.

And while Great Lakes champions like Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow bash the Army Corps incessantly about Asian carp, they lack a passable carp plan and have to rely on empty rhetoric.

What about the governors?

A sea change has occurred since 2008. None of those forward-looking governors who signed the Compact are now in office.

And the current class seems more interested in running for president and positioning themselves for their next job than paying attention to the Great Lakes.

They’ve dawdled on putting teeth into the rules of the Great Lakes Compact, diluting its effectiveness.

And they’ve been tone deaf on water quality. Look to Lake Erie and the Toledo water crisis for proof. Or to Flint where citizens have lost confidence in the ability of government to deliver safe drinking water.

Then there’s Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker said he wanted someone with a “Chamber of Commerce” mentality to run the Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin has always been a leader in environmental stewardship and conservation. Now, in addition to its iconic football team, Green Bay is also known for its algae-fueled dead zone resulting from agricultural pollution.

Governors and state legislators remain the weak link between water-activist mayors and a well-intended but inherently political and bureaucratic federal government when it comes to protecting the region’s waterways.

If the next generation of environmental executives wants to establish their bona fides — like current ones did with restoration and the Compact – they can by reigning in agricultural pollution.

It’s the bête noir that’s degrading water quality and the quality of life in the region that has yet to shake its Rust Belt image.

It’s time for Great Lakes activists to form their coalitions and start banging on doors in governors mansions and statehouses. They’ll have to be in it for the long term.

What about Davis’s “new standard of care?” Has it been realized? Will his generation leave the Great Lakes better than it found it?

It’s too early to say. The smart money has known that Great Lakes restoration is an ultra-marathon not a five year sprint.

The big accomplishment has been cleaning up decades old toxic hotspots that dot the region. There’s more to do, but the progress is real.

There also has been a change in the mindset from do we restore and protect the Great Lakes to how do we restore and protect them. The billions of dollars invested to date are a start and need to be maintained.

But the fact that drinking water quality has declined and continues to be threatened means that politicians will have to move beyond showing up at press conferences when Great Lakes money comes back to their district. That’s merely shooting layups.

They’ll have to tackle problems that aren’t resolved with money.

Going forward, delivering on that “new standard of care” will require hard work and the political will to make tough decisions – the latter of which is usually in short supply. And yes, money will be needed too.

That’s why the 2016 election is important as will be 2020 and others long into the future.

Decades and lifetimes of work remain.

This story was originally published by Great Lakes Echo.

63 thoughts on “Changing Politics Could Hurt Great Lakes”

  1. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Baloney more crap from Walker haters.

  2. David says:

    Most intellectually stunted people like Walker seem to understand is exploitation of resources including people, to further their own limited self interest for power and wealth of their benefactors. An ignoramus like Walker has learned the craft of con-artist very well and being the stooge for his benefactors at the expense of everyone else including the environment. Walker will say and do anything to further his own self preservation interests.

    Walker and his ilk are very dangerous people and diminish freedom and rights of all citizens.

  3. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    More dopey unsubstantiated comments from David the certified hater. he is an ilk all by himself.

  4. PMD says:

    Lakes are stupid and cold. No one wants to swim in them. I say pollute away. It’s not like we can’t just build more lakes if we need to.

  5. Paul says:

    How come there was no mention of Mayor Barrett and his promise to stop dumping millions of gallons of untreated sewage into lake Michigan?

  6. PMD says:

    “How come there was no mention of Mayor Barrett”

    Maybe because the text specifically states that this is about governors?

  7. Rich says:

    Paul, are you referring to the average of one vent per year that occurs following massive rain events that generate billions of gallons of water themselves? You are ignoring facts that these thing don’t happen like they used to.

  8. David says:

    Regarding hate, I do hate and despise a fascist form of governance and laws written by their corporate attorneys for ALEC and implemented by stooges. Our fathers, uncles, cousins, friends and fellow citizens fought against this form of government in the 1930s to 40s and beat it back in the great struggle of WWII. We need to beat it back again to secure true freedom and rights from the scoundrels and stooges in power today.

    As for the ignorant comments concerning water, humans and life depend on clean water for survival. Without it you die in a matter of days. The Great Lakes are the largest source of drinkable fresh water on the planet. It is one of the reasons huge populations set up around the lakes and prospered. Other benefits have included food, recreation, transportation, and import and export opportunities and pure beauty. Many people take for granted the abundance of water in Wisconsin.

    MMSD has been working for decades to remove and clean the waste stream the many dump into the sewage system. There is no mechanical system that is 100% effective and fool proof. Extreme storm events happen during time the overwhelm the plumbing. Every citizen and property owner needs to take personal responsibility on their part to limit flow of contaminated water into the sewage system especially during extreme events and build a landscape that retains storm water.

  9. David says:

    Paul…. you should research how water treatment in our watershed has improved over the last 20 years. Furthermore, you should research how the district plans to continue this improvement and eliminate overflows all together by 2035.

  10. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    David is there any limit to the amount of worthless BS that you put out?

  11. David says:

    WCD…. do you have a point moron?

  12. Paul says:

    David, I remember when they said the deep tunnel would stop all overflows except the hundred year rain, seems like we get hundred year rains a few times every year. A seperated sewer system in Milwaukee would’ve accomplished this, but Milwaukee didn’t want to pay the dollar amount, so now we are all paying with the overflows of sewage.

  13. Nicholas says:

    Paul, we do get hundred year rains a few times a year, as the climate changes, more extreme weather events will occur.

    The problem is that many folks in the suburban parts of MMSD will not want to pay to expand the system.

  14. AG says:

    Paul, even if we went through an separated all the sewers we’ve come to find out that there’s extensive infiltration in the separated sections of the city. Thus, we still would have been dumping and dumping often. It probably would have been a worse option than the current system. In addition, most of our pollution now is actually from surface pollutants (both urban and agricultural). The best options for stemming polution right now are to either stem the flow of surface water or we need to expand the deep tunnel. The expansion isn’t going to happen, so MMSD is working to stem the flow of surface pollutants.

    In a perfect world with unlimited money, our very best option would be to COMBINE both storm and sanitary sewers, not separate them. This is ridiculously cost prohibitive though… one could dream though.

  15. David says:

    Paul… I don’t think the was to stop all overflows, just drastically reduce them. I believe they are allowed by law a certain amount. To AG’s point, the long term solution is for the ground to manage the rest of the storm water. I think MMSD gave talk radio its start in this city mostly because the suburbs feel as though they are being unfairly charged.

  16. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Barrett vowed to fix that ten years ago.

  17. David says:

    Aging infrastructure has many leaks that allow rain water to inflow into the collection system throughout the service territory. These collection systems are owned by individual municipalities. You can never build a system to collect all water from extreme events. MMSD has recognized this and Milwaukee has an annual storm water fee per property owner. Commercial property owners can reduce that fee by creative landscaping that would attenuate the flow of storm water off site.

    During a 1 inch rain fall event, about 1,000 gallons of water can flow off a residential property. Each homeowner can take some personal responsibility with their property through creative landscaping to hold back water.

    This is a small part in protecting the Great Lakes. The other larger part is protecting withdrawals of Great Lakes water from thirsty regions outside the drainage basis. This will likely come up as a pipeline to Waukesha and beyond to the southwest and even a thirsty California.

    For examples of ecological disasters from withdrawal would be the Aral Sea that is all but gone.

  18. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Aging sewer lines, clear water infiltration backups in basement, I have had many should have been fixed instead of the stupid flow ponds on county grounds and the deep tunnels.
    People like David sold Maier on the stupid tunnels.

  19. David says:

    A combined storm sewer collection system from the lakefront to 43rd St. and Oklahoma Avenue north to Capitol Drive is still a water quality benefit that collects contaminated street runoff in a denser urban areas where creative landscape opportunities are less available in a built environment. This also protect Lake Michigan water quality.

    A deep tunnel is an aide to the entire system inside the combined collection and outside of it and protect the main plant from a rapid rush of incoming storm water. It is less contaminated than regular sewer water and can be treated days later during off peak periods. This benefits the entire system but is not 100% effective to prevent all releases.

    When a given area around a stream exceed 10% impervious surfaces of roof tops, asphalt, concrete, and even grass lawns, the river dies that feeds into the big lake. Many areas like the one I live in have greater than 30% impervious surfaces. A sewage treatment system cannot make up as a substitute for natural systems like wood land, deep rooted prairie systems, and deeper top soil over clay in much of southeaster Wisconsin that can slow and attenuate storm water flow into a sewage system, creeks and rivers, that flow into the big lake.

    The main emphasis of the article is that it is unlikely the Republican leaders in power have the intellect, knowledge, and even the inclination to protect water resources. Walker has proven this over the decades with his negative environmental track record and stunted intellect, and as a stooge for corporations. And if Walker leaves a mess for the next administration, Walker has shown he has no accountability for his actions as demonstrated by allowing his former county staff to go to prison on his behalf for his acts of corruption.

  20. Tom D says:

    Paul (post 12), having a separated sewer system does NOT prevent overflows. There are lots of Milwaukee-area communities (like Menomonee Falls and Mequon) with separated sewers that have sanitary sewer overflows.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/overflows-from-combined-sewers-last-week-reached-681-million-gallons-b99480603z1-299616491.html

    About 99 days out 100, combined sewer systems (like Milwaukee’s) pollute LESS than separated systems. In separated systems, the “other” sewers—the storm sewers—ALWAYS drain directly into rivers and lakes, dumping untreated road pollution (like leaked motor oil and animal droppings) into our lakes and rivers. Combined systems like Milwaukee’s treat this road pollution before discharging into lakes and rivers.

  21. Paul says:

    It’s not even worth arguing with idiots. Nicholas,by definition hundred year rains can’t happen a few times a year. To the others, separated sewers would stop human waste from entering the lake. WCD is the only other person on here that has any sense

  22. AG says:

    Paul, when the rain water flows into the “separated” sanitary sewers what do you think is being flushed through by the infiltration? That’s right, human waste.

    MOST of the excess water flow is not coming from the combined sewers, it’s infiltration into the separated system.

  23. David says:

    Paul, I’ve read all the posts. Where does WCD make any sense?

  24. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    That was the debate dummy. I installed sewer system form time I was 16. Our side said seperate sewers, seal sanitary, problems instead of doing deep tunnels which fixed only part of problems but the excess clear water into sewers caused backups all over that the tunnels did not clear up. I was there, right in middle. if we would have separated all the times that we did work it would be almost done by now…..
    We still have to seal the sanitaries and it is being done all over place. Typical example of idiotic leadership of Milwaukee.

  25. Paul says:

    AG, do you understand what seperated sewers are?

  26. AG says:

    Paul, do you understand what infiltration means? Thanks for the random insults when you’re clearly clueless to the details of this situation.

    Combined sewers make up only a small fraction of the total sewer system. Over 90% of the system is separated. More water is getting into the sanitary sewer due to infiltration of rain water into busted rotting system than comes from the combined sanitary/storm sewers.

    MMSD can even calculate how much rain water is coming from combined vs separated sections of the city because they can measure the flow rates and how long water takes to travel from various parts of the city.

    Why do you think they’ve been doing test projects to line sewer laterals and repair poorly maintained water mains? Have you had your head in the sand for the last decade?

  27. AG says:

    Ohhh wait, I just figured it out. The reason so much water is coming from the separated parts of the system is because everyone feels the urge to shower and flush toilets whenever it rains! Duh!

    Sorry Paul… I don’t know why I doubted you.

  28. karen says:

    Paul

    It may be literally correct that a weather event described as a “100 year event” should happen very rarely.

    The problem is, of course, that we are in a huge and fast changing climate change environment. This means that events formerly described as “100 year” events are now happening every season……so VERY severe weather ‘events’ are happening with increasingly frequency.

    Your statement has no relationship to the reality we are all facing.

  29. Paul says:

    AG, you are clueless, you think that as soon as the rain falls it saturates the soil and seeps into the pipes? Combined sewers make up almost all of the city of Milwaukees sewer system.

  30. AG says:

    Paul, are you being ironic?

    Anyway, combined sewers make up about 30% of the city of Milwaukee sewers and 5% of the overall system area.

    And yes, water DOES saturate the soil and seeps in. It happens quite quickly when you have tree roots growing into the lines, cracked pipes, etc. However, more immediately you also have many downspouts tied directly into the laterals, you have drain tiles for homes w/o sump pumps tied directly in, you have storm sewers accidentally tied into the system, and many other issues.

    These aren’t pie in the sky things. MMSD has been measuring flow rates from various parts of the system. They also singled out test areas to measure neighborhoods before and after lining laterals and fixing sewer pipes and eventually has plans to test the outcomes of disconnected house lines from the system and installing sump pumps among many other things. The tests so far have proven extremely successful in reducing the amount of infiltration in these areas.

    Hey, I’m a regular listener to conservative talk radio… but I know to explore things in more detail. Most of the time I still agree, but in this case I realize there really is more to the story. Try doing some research for yourself and you’ll come to the same conclusion I did.

  31. Paul says:

    AG, goggle Milwaukee combined sewers and you’ll see on MMSDs own site that combined sewers make up almost all of the city’s system

  32. David says:

    Time for bed Paul.

  33. AG says:

    http://city.milwaukee.gov/District10/Stormwater-and-Sewer-Capacity.htm#.VT7w36lDuJQ

    “Combined vs. Separate
    We hear a lot about combined sewers in the Milwaukee area. A combined sewer is one pipe that collects sanitary flows from homes and businesses and stormwater from streets. The only combined sewers in this region are owned by the City of Milwaukee and the Village of Shorewood. They make up five percent of MMSD’s total service area. You can find combined sewers in about one third of Milwaukee and roughly half of Shorewood.”

  34. AG says:

    Here is the map you’re talking about.

    http://www.mmsd.com/about/about-us

    Turd: noun, vulgar slang; 1. a lump of excrement. 2. An obnoxious person who thinks they know everything but actually knows little

    Fitting for this discussion, ‘eh?

  35. Paul says:

    AG, thanks for posting the map that shows that the city of Milwaukee is almost 100% combined sewer and proving my comment to be true. Calling yourself a turd is a little extreme though.

  36. Casey says:

    Paul- looking at that map it appears only the old city (before 1920) is combined sewer. The rest of the city is seperate. It’s ok…most burban folks don’t know where Milwaukee city limits are either.

  37. AG says:

    Casey, don’t bother. I gave his ignorance of infiltration and inflows a pass… but there’s no way he doesn’t see the information staring at him in the face. There’s a slight chance it’s willful blindness, but something tells me he doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying and is really just trying to get a rise out of people. I assume that must be the case with the information right in front of him.

  38. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    i was right in the middle of the debate over the tunnels vs sewers. WE fought Maier cause we knew that the deep tunnels would not do the job, but the unions Left and Maier had the power at the state and won.
    Barrett just recently tried to stick the rest of us with trolley costs, but Left no longer controlled state.
    The old combined sewers in downtown Milwaukee and parts of Shorewood need to be split. If the last 40 years they would have done that every time they did sewer work it would be done by now.
    The major problem is clear water inflow like when you tile a field from the storms into sanitary. They need to be sealed and all clear water flowing various ways into the sanitary had to be stopped. The problem would have been gone. Big rains then, no big deal but this is going to go on forever though there is efforts made in Tosa and other places to seal the sanitaries cause of sewer backups.
    So Milwaukee won and as usual their solution did not work. Solved lots of the problems but those of us that have had 9 sewer backups plus overflows into Lake still have problems.
    That is the way of the left. Muscle through some stupid idea, then it does not work, blame Bush, Walker, the climate, the rain whomever they can.
    Milwaukee is giant mess not quite as bad as Baltimore but getting there. The male, white, liberal racist leadership just cannot get it done.

  39. AG says:

    WCD, separating the lines was a viable option for those parts of the city to reduce sanitary sewer overflows in those areas. But even if we had done that, we’d still be stuck with the same problem we have now which is rain water getting into the separating sewers in the rest of the city. No one knew how much rain water was actually coming from the rest of the city and we still would have had to deal with that either way. The deep tunnel has the capacity to cover the combined sewer areas, it just can’t handle that PLUS what we didn’t know about. No matter what we would have done, this problem would still exist.

  40. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The debate was separating the sewers and sealing them, stopping clear water from getting into them. We could have done that by now and it would have been cheaper. it is easy to do, no new tech and would have employed a lot of people but Maier was determined to screw the suburbs into paying for part of it.
    AG, how many times do I have to repeat that. Separation was only about 40% or so. Sealing, stopping clear water from getting in from gutters etc was biggest part but easy to do.

  41. AG says:

    WCD, admittedly I was not alive during the debate. Everything I’ve seen, that isn’t just opinion anyway, has shown me that the project was just to separate the sanitary and storm sewer and had no plans for the already separated sections. Can you point me to any evidence that this was the case? I’ve attempted to find it, with no luck.

    I need to turn off my alerts for this discussion… I can’t help but respond right away!!

  42. PMD says:

    He’s gathering the evidence right now and will post it any minute.

  43. Paul says:

    AG, so your understanding of everything starts at your birth, that explains alot. Think about it, if they seperated the sewers they would have sealed them seeing they were new sewers.

  44. Ag says:

    PMD, I’m holding my breadth in anticipation.

    Paul, my understanding of everything is based on the evidence I have. All evidence points to only the combined sewers being replaced which, once again, is only a fraction of the system. Would you PLEASE go research the infiltration and inflow problem?? Even WCD mentions the projects going on in Tosa, MKE, and some other areas to try to seal the SEPARATED sewers. MMSD specifically points to high flows during rainstorms coming from the separate sanitary storm sewers. You are driving me nuts.

  45. David says:

    I think Paul and WCD are the same person.

  46. Tim says:

    If it’s not reported on AM talk radio, it didn’t happen.

  47. Kyle says:

    Paul, let me get this straight: You’re looking for someone to admit that you’re right, but you’re offering no evidence that you were right 30+ years ago when it mattered, no evidence that your proposed solution (which may or may not require time travel) would be any better, and everything you believe to be true is based on your memory of what was said decades ago. No one has to listen to you saying “I told you so” if you can’t find anyone you actually told.

    Today, we have the system we have. It’s significantly better than what the problem was before, but it’s not flawless. They’re working on improving it. Do you have any proposed solution to the problem at hand, or at least the time machine necessary to enact your separated sewers in any meaningful way? Because I don’t see it yet. Maybe I should try goggling it…

  48. Paul says:

    I guess you all live under the saying”At this point in time what does it matter” Well it does matter and if the money would have been spent by Milwaukee like it was by all the suburbs into separating and upgrading thier system we wouldn’t be dumping human waste into the lake every time it rains hard.

  49. AG says:

    Paul, exactly which suburbs had combined sewers and spent money to separate them?

    And please address the fact that most of the city has separate sanitary and storm sewers and infiltration/inflow problems associated with them.

  50. Paul says:

    AG, go back to the map that you posted and you’ll see what cities have separated systems.

  51. David says:

    Sewage treatment plants are just one source of waste releases. There are many other including farms, streets, construction sites with huge soil disturbances, parking lots, etc. that leak many contaminates into rivers and lakes. Every car will leach off about 10 pounds annually into waterways. We dump millions of pounds of de-icing materials during winter and the salinity of Lake Michigan has doubled in the last 100-years. The shipping transportation segment has released many invasive species into the Great Lakes with reckless abandon for over 150 years to their permanent alteration and detriment. Commercial and individual fishing removed millions of pounds of fish annually in the early 1900s decimating native populations.

    The main theme of the article is the fragmented leadership approach to our water and all resources. People like Walker have no leadership, knowledge or appreciation in this area, and actually act as a stooge in passing the keys to the parasites and exploiters. An example is the mine in the northwest and letting them write their own environmental protection laws that would allow them to rape the land and water without consequences. For some reasons conservation and appreciation of natural science and resources has become a foreign language to conservatives.

    A good background on water can be found with the recent “A City Built on Water” presentation narrated by John Gurda. http://www.wpr.org/shows/milwaukee-city-built-water

  52. AG says:

    PAUL! Good lord! Those were not combined sewers that got separated, they were built from the beginning as separated systems just like the majority of the city of Milwaukee has been. What is wrong with you???

  53. AG says:

    David, how can we ever hold our politicians accountable for anything when you have people like Paul and WCD who are so clueless they wouldn’t know what the right decisions are to begin with?? If you can’t get the information to stick when you spoon feed it to them I fear it’s hopeless at this point.

  54. PMD says:

    “Those were not combined sewers that got separated, they were built from the beginning as separated systems just like the majority of the city of Milwaukee has been.”

    He might not understand the difference. Or care. Hard to tell for sure.

  55. David says:

    A combined storm sewer collection system that Milwaukee and Chicago have are a benefit to the urban environment and treat all storm water and sewage within that territory. While some greenway spaces can be retrofitted in densely built urban areas, it is more difficult that the inner ring of suburbs that flush their streets into the rivers and creeks that run into the Lakes with no treatment at all. A solution for these systems, are buffer ponds with deep rooted native vegetation and organic soils with mulch that would remove greater than 90% of pollutants before reaching a waterway.

    Farmers need better management and vegetation buffers on their land to keep water and pollutants on the soil. An extremely detrimental example of farm runoff is the dead zone that occurs in the Gulf from all the farm pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer runoff down the Mississippi River including the top soil that erodes off the land.

    Stupid people do not know they are ignorant and what they lack in knowledge. They will still proceed and make stupid statements and remove all doubt that they really are utterly stupid. We have the least educated Governor and Legislator in modern history. This is at a time when broad and specific knowledge and thirst for solutions is needed. Instead stupidity is worn like some kind of force shield and badge of honor. Kind of like keep my head stuck in the ground or some other rotten hole and all problems do not exist.

  56. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Those poor stupid people that get sewage in their basements all the time they really are stupid aren’t they?

  57. Paul says:

    David, so unless everyone agrees with you they are stupid and ignorant? Nobody is disputing the fact that rain runoff ends up in the lake, but there is no reason that human waste should be dumped.

  58. Tim says:

    Paul, I agree that all untreated human waste should be kept out of waterways. I also think that sewage districts should take the most cost-efficient way to reach that goal. It looks to me like MMSD is doing a good job in making progress in that goal.

    How’s Brookfield doing? Or any other community for that matter?

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/epa-orders-brookfield-to-end-sewer-overflows-132197743.html

  59. Paul says:

    Tim, Milwaukee did it they way they did so that all the suburbs would pay for Milwaukee’s problem, yes it saved the city tons of money, but didn’t fix the problem. Penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind.

  60. Tom D says:

    Paul, separate sewers do NOT eliminate the problem. Mequon, for example, has separate sewers and, after heavy rain, sometimes dumps untreated human waste from its “sanitary” sewer.

  61. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Seperate sewers have to be sealed or the clear water gets into the sanitary.

  62. David says:

    During the storm event of 1986 in Milwaukee, I had 6 feet of sewage laden water in my basement. My rain gage said 9 inches of water in one hour. No amount of civil engineering and plugging plumbing leaks would accommodate this type of event. The sewage system essentially was overwhelmed and flooded and water sought a natural level filling many basements.

    Eighty percent of flood damage occurs in former wetland areas. Do not build and fill wetland areas and prevent the majority of flood and basement flood problems

  63. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Another dopey comment from David, completely ignorant of how the system works. I had that amount in my basement several times but most of it was clear water cause the sewage lines were not sealed from clear water. They either got in from the storms or water from gutter, etc that drain into sewage lines. if the system was sealed, clear water would not get in, thereby no backups.

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