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If april showers bring may flowers, what do may showers bring?

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
More sewage dumping!

Now granted, it's been unseasonable rainy here for the last two weeks (and at least for another week), but my god, in this day and age, we should not be dumping BILLIONS of raw or partially treated human waste into our ecosystem.

...especially not the one we draw our drinking water from :-#
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,894
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57
Could someone give Milwaukee a dope slap for me? :eek:|

Haven't we done enough to our precious Lakes already?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
When it rains here in Milwaukee every news station has someone stationed at the Sewerage District offices, kind of like when they have the reported standing in front of the snowplows or piles of salt when it snows. It is supposed to rain tonight. Tomorrow morning we will hear about more poop being dumped. Ahh the benefits of shared storm and sanitary sewers!

Two weeks ago there was a poop slick (think oil slick, but with poop) on Lake Michigan.
 
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Repo Man said:
Ahh the benefits of shared storm and sanitary sewers!
I honestly can't imagine why it ever seemed like a good idea to mix the two in the first place.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
Downtown said:
I honestly can't imagine why it ever seemed like a good idea to mix the two in the first place.
The only reasons I've heard (and I am not suggesting they are good) are:

(1) "Blending" waste with clear water reduces its concentration and makes the BOD and VOC levels reduced, allowing for cheaper treatment, assuming you can process the volume.

(2) "Back in the day" a developer would plat land, and the City would pay to install all of the infrastructure (remember, this was a socialist stronghold for many many decades. We had socialist Mayors into the 1950's or early 1960's if I recall right). Later administrations would still install the infrastructure, but assess the cost back, and there still was little incentive to separate the system.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,485
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41
JNA said:
CSO are also a problem along the Ohio River :-#
Uhh, I've been meaning to tell you, what with us being up river from you and all . . . 8-!
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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3,904
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25
Gedunker said:
Uhh, I've been meaning to tell you, what with us being up river from you and all . . . 8-!
Did you guys not get the memo?
I couldn't imagine what city out there would allow such a thing to happen to the river. ;-)
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Repo Man said:
Ahh the benefits of shared storm and sanitary sewers!
We have the same archaic system here too, but thanks to the Niagara River its usually not a problem. Most beaches to the south along lake erie close after heavy rain due to farm runoff and other fun stuff.

OT: Hey Biscuit, you ever do any carp fishing in the 3 rivers? Good times :-b
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
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2,713
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24
Its not like this is a new event for Milwaukee. Didn't they get sewed in the early 80's for this by Chicago? Didn't it end up the courts told Chicago they couldn't sue for some goofy reason?

Its looking like 5 billion a month could have baught a lot of waste water control. 8-!
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
Duke Of Dystopia said:
Its not like this is a new event for Milwaukee. Didn't they get sewed in the early 80's for this by Chicago? Didn't it end up the courts told Chicago they couldn't sue for some goofy reason?

Its looking like 5 billion a month could have baught a lot of waste water control. 8-!
I'm pretty sure that the lawsuit did go through and it forced Milwaukee to deal with the problem. ;-)

There were two options, seperate the sewers which would have cost a "whole heck of a lot of money" or build large tunnels underground to store the waste until it could be treated which only cost a "heck of a lot of money". The problem is that when they calculated the size of what needed to be built they figured that the amount of rainwater entering the system would go down by about 12% due to other improvements in the system. The only problem is that rainwater entering the system increased 5%. Hence all the overflows. Right now they are extending the tunnel system and are also considering a partial/total seperation of the sewers in addition.


On a side note with beach closings, does anyone think that the water was less polluted years ago? My thinking on beach closings and the associated paranoia is that no one knew there was all the crap (not literally) in the water. Kinda like ignorance is bliss.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,915
Points
36
Toronto is busily separating storm and sanitary sewers in the older parts of the City. As for why combined systems were ever used, I'm sure back in the day the engineers figured "why would you want two sets of pipes if it's just going to get dumped (untreated) into the lake/river/ocean anyway?" :)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
iamme said:
I'm pretty sure that the lawsuit did go through and it forced Milwaukee to deal with the problem. ;-)

The lawsuit was won by Illinois, requiring the construction of the "deep tunnel" storage system, and requiring the separation of combined sewers.

On appeal, the separation requirement was dropped.

Here's this morning's radar image. How much do you think we'll dump today? :-#
 

Attachments

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7,649
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iamme said:
On a side note with beach closings, does anyone think that the water was less polluted years ago? My thinking on beach closings and the associated paranoia is that no one knew there was all the crap (not literally) in the water. Kinda like ignorance is bliss.
A quote from an environmental law textbook of mine is to the effect of "The Cayahoga (??) may not be swimmable or fishable but at least it's no longer flammable." Pollution was pretty bad before they began monitoring it. I think 1969 was the year of the first US Federal environmental law (based on something California did some years before that, if memory serves). If you look stuff up, you often find that air and water were a lot more polluted in the 1970's and records usually don't go back (much) further than that.

[hyperbole]OT: My sincerest apologies to Chet for using the expression "if the crick don't rise" in another thread. That was incredibly insensitive of me.[/hyperbole]
 
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jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
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25
Looks like another summer of closed beaches in Chicago +o(

**** you Milwaukee! :eek:|

Yeah the lawsuit made Milwaukee build its deep tunnels but they did a really half-assed job of it. They only can hold like 140 million gallons or something, or a tiny percentage of Chicago's (unfinished) system's capacity, and a smaller amount per capita as well.

You'd think it'd be important enough for them to have clean water that they'd take the initiative to build a decent deep tunnel system without a lawsuit, but I guess their priorities lie elsewhere...
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
jordanb said:
You'd think it'd be important enough for them to have clean water that they'd take the initiative to build a decent deep tunnel system without a lawsuit, but I guess their priorities lie elsewhere...
We've been too busy building super highways into the north woods to accommodate all you F.I.B.'s heading to your weekends homes. :f:
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I am shocked that the mayor has the audacity to say that the suburban communities should help foot the bill if the sewers were to be seperated. The suburban communities that make up the sewerage district already get the raw end of the deal as we are taxed by them based on our assessed value, not actual sewer capacity and stormwater runoff

FIB

F---ing Illinois Bastard (can I say bastard on here?)
 
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Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Repo Man said:
I am shocked that the mayor has the audacity to say that the suburban communities should help foot the bill if the sewers were to be seperated. The suburban communities that make up the sewerage district already get the raw end of the deal as we are taxed by them based on our assessed value, not actual sewer capacity and stormwater runoff

AND, none of the burbs HAVE the combined sewers - they are all in the City proper!

The last burb I worked for spent over 2 million of their own money on I&I repairs and in-line storage. To suggest they pay more is downright ignorant.
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
When I saw the thread title for this, I thought the answer was going to be that May flowers brought Pilgrims.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
Trail Nazi said:
When I saw the thread title for this, I thought the answer was going to be that May flowers brought Pilgrims.

except its been kay showers. It rained like all buh-leezus again Friday morning, Friday night, then raining light but steady all morning saturday. Radar shows more rains sayurday night and sunday morning.

The sewerage district says its not done dumping "yet".

If I'm not around next week, my ark has set sail on the sea of turds.
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
I'd be interested to see where you get your statistics. What I found was that Milwaukee has storage capabilities of 405 million gallons with 1 million people served. Chicago states its capacity at 1.6 billion gallons but with a "population equivalent of 10.1 million people". That seems to show Milwaukee has higher storage per capita but the population equivalent term is abiguous.

http://home.comcast.net/~FriendsOfT...hicagoTribune/DeepTunnelDrillingComplete.html
http://www.mwrdgc.dst.il.us/
http://www.mmsd.com/projects/collection8.cfm

jordanb said:
**** you Milwaukee! :eek:|

Yeah the lawsuit made Milwaukee build its deep tunnels but they did a really half-assed job of it. They only can hold like 140 million gallons or something, or a tiny percentage of Chicago's (unfinished) system's capacity, and a smaller amount per capita as well.

You'd think it'd be important enough for them to have clean water that they'd take the initiative to build a decent deep tunnel system without a lawsuit, but I guess their priorities lie elsewhere...
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
Chet said:
AND, none of the burbs HAVE the combined sewers - they are all in the City proper!

The last burb I worked for spent over 2 million of their own money on I&I repairs and in-line storage. To suggest they pay more is downright ignorant.
Regional cooperation: A Bridge Too Far ;-) :-\
 

Markitect

Cyburbian
Messages
110
Points
6
Chet said:
AND, none of the burbs HAVE the combined sewers - they are all in the City proper!
A good chunk of Shorewood has combined sewers also (granted, that's just one small suburb out of many without combined sewers).


Milwaukee's sewerage problems and the court case with Illinois are covered extensively in the book Greater Milwaukee's Growing Pains, 1950-2000: An Insider's View by Richard Cutler.


jordanb said:
Yeah the lawsuit made Milwaukee build its deep tunnels but they did a really half-assed job of it. They only can hold like 140 million gallons or something, or a tiny percentage of Chicago's (unfinished) system's capacity, and a smaller amount per capita as well.

You'd think it'd be important enough for them to have clean water that they'd take the initiative to build a decent deep tunnel system without a lawsuit, but I guess their priorities lie elsewhere...
It's too bad we don't have a river with which we could reverse its flow to send all that nastiness downstream to the Mississippi River--like you guys in Chicago and surrounding suburbs did.
 
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jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
iamme said:
I'd be interested to see where you get your statistics. What I found was that Milwaukee has storage capabilities of 405 million gallons with 1 million people served. Chicago states its capacity at 1.6 billion gallons but with
The 1.6 billion gallons just applies to the tunnels that are currently online, there's also a 330 million gallon reservoir at O'Hare called the O'Hare CUP that came online in 1998. Plus there's a portion of the Thornton reservior online, I don't know how much water it holds. The tunnels once complete will hold 1.8 billion gallons and the reserviors another 15.5 billion gallons.

http://www.mwrdgc.dst.il.us/Engineering/OurCommunityFlooding/OCFBody0210.htm
http://www.mwrdgc.dst.il.us/plants/tarp.htm

a "population equivalent of 10.1 million people". That seems to show Milwaukee has higher storage per capita but the population equivalent term is abiguous.
I don't know what they mean by that, it sounds like a bizzare capacity measure, but there aren't even 10 million people in the entire Chicago Metro, let alone in the area served by MWRDGC. The second link there puts the number of people served by tarp at "over 3 million people."
 
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Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,623
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34
jordanb said:
I don't know what they mean by that, it sounds like a bizzare capacity measure, but there aren't even 10 million people in the entire Chicago Metro, let alone in the area served by MWRDGC. The second link there puts the number of people served by tarp at "over 3 million people."
I beleive (and correct me if I am wrong Iamme) she is talking about "residential equivalent connections" or RECs. For example, a typical residence uses X gallons per year. A car wash using new technology may be 3xREC, while an oler one may be 10xREC. So, its not a measure of people, but a measure of equivalence to people. It is a common method of determining connection fees in this area.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Chet said:
I beleive (and correct me if I am wrong Iamme) she is talking about "residential equivalent connections" or RECs. For example, a typical residence uses X gallons per year. A car wash using new technology may be 3xREC, while an oler one may be 10xREC. So, its not a measure of people, but a measure of equivalence to people. It is a common method of determining connection fees in this area.
That would make sense except that the capacity of this system is set by the runoff rather than by the sewage. I read somewhere (I think in the second link) that the amount of sewage is neglegable compared to the amount of runoff during a rainstorm. I suppose they could define runoff in terms of RECs too but I'd imagine it'd be a lot more than 10 million in that case.

Interestingly, the first link I posted says that only the tunnel system itself is considered a pollution control system and that reservoirs are considered flood control systems and thus, are funded out of the core of engineers instead of the EPA or IEPA (the feds quit funding TARP in 1986).

I suppose the tunnels could be considered a communal "first flush" system. When they open up, all of the sewage existing in the system gets dumped into them, plus the first inch or so of runoff, so the only effluence that doesn't get processed is what enters the system during the rainstorm while the tunnels are full, and since the amount of pollutants in runoff fall off exponentially, most of the polluted runoff is also captured for processing.

So Milwaukee's system seems like it *should* be big enough to keep pollution to a minimum, so an undersized deep tunnel system doesn't explain its current dumping problems... Gross mismanagement at the sewage authority? Didn't Milwaukee privitize their sewers a bit ago? That might explain it.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
jordanb said:
So Milwaukee's system seems like it *should* be big enough to keep pollution to a minimum, so an undersized deep tunnel system doesn't explain its current dumping problems... Gross mismanagement at the sewage authority? Didn't Milwaukee privitize their sewers a bit ago? That might explain it.
Indeed the finger pointers ahve blamed mismanagement. They have two construction projects ongoing that have resulted in reductions in processing capability. Bad timing for sure, but they claim to be critical and couldnt wait for a drier season. They also had a computer malfunction at the height of it all that caused some control problems. The Mayor (appoints a large minority of the district board) has called for a top down audit of the organization, and he ran on a platform of reorganizing the district. Hopefully something positive will come of it all.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
Chicago lays down the law

`Cheeseheads' get the blame for lake's woes
Milwaukee sewage dumping faulted for beach closings

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published June 8, 2004

Ears in Milwaukee were burning on Monday when officials in Chicago accused their Wisconsin brethren of sending "Cheesehead sewer water" into Lake Michigan, acting insensitively toward a great natural asset and being bad environmental neighbors.

"The state of Wisconsin, and especially the city of Milwaukee, is a terrible environmental steward of Lake Michigan," declared U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who led the verbal assault and made the crack about Cheesehead pollution. "We are seeing hundreds of our beaches closing that I believe are caused by Milwaukee dumping raw sewage."

Chicago has cracked down on boaters who discharge waste into the lake and has gone so far as to promote recycling of bottles and cans at city harbors, only to see millions of gallons of storm and sewer water dumped at Milwaukee, said Mayor Richard Daley.

"That is a lot of garbage, and it is going to float down here," he declared. "What are we going to do here when we have to shut our beaches down?"

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has acknowledged dumping 4.6 billion gallons of sewer overflows into waterways that flow into Lake Michigan during heavy rains in May.

An estimated 65 billion gallons of rainwater saturated the district's 420-square-mile service area, which includes Milwaukee and 27 other municipalities, between May 7 and May 27.

"There's a lot of frustration here with overflows, including right here in our own building," said Bill Graffin, a spokesman for the district. "Unfortunately, Mother Nature brings along some storms that your system just can't handle."

But the recent incident is only the latest, asserted Kirk, who attended a congressional subcommittee hearing on Great Lakes legislation at the Shedd Aquarium.

"They have been doing it repeatedly," he said. "They have tried to save some budget dollars on their sewer system, and it is pretty easy to save budget dollars when you just dump raw sewage in the lake. That is why I think we need much stronger (federal) action against Wisconsin and, especially, Milwaukee."

Graffin insisted that local officials have been aggressive in seeking to solve a long-standing problem. They have spent $2.3 billion over the last two decades for capital improvements, including a deep tunnel project, and are investing another $900 million by 2010 for additional upgrades, he said.

Last year, there were no overflows for the first time in recent history, Graffin said.

Thomas Skinner, acting assistant administrator for enforcement of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said that the May dumping may produce fines but asserted that penalties alone will not solve what he said has been a chronic problem.

"It is going to [take] pressure from the congressional delegations, pressure from their citizens and pressure from the federal government to get the system to do what they need it to do" to eliminate overflows, he said. "We are going to have to sit down with the state of Wisconsin now and really undertake some serious discussion about how we get Milwaukee to move in the direction they need to move."

Beaches were closed in the Milwaukee area after the recent dumping, but Skinner said there is no scientific evidence that discharges north of the state line have caused beach closings in the Chicago area.

The use and alleged misuse of Lake Michigan have produced tension among cities, states and Canadian provinces bordering the lake for decades.

Chicago, for example, has been criticized over the years for drawing far more than its rightful share of water.

At Monday's hearing, Kirk, Daley and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) called for passage of Great Lakes legislation that would authorize $4 billion a year in federal funding for projects ranging from harbor cleanup to fighting invasive species.

Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The sewage district KNOWS it is in big trouble this time.

The executive director looks like he's aged 10 years, and every news conference he looks worse and worse, trembling voice, maxo-stressed out.
 
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