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Milwaukee’s Next Step: Watershed Restoration Plans
Author: Timothy Bate, William Krill, Troy Deibert, Leslie Shoemaker, Kevin Kratt
Date: 10/08
Preprint WEFTEC ’08, Chicago, IL, October 18-22, 2008

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) watershed approach to facilities planning has been completed in southeastern Wisconsin by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD or District), in partnership with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC), the region’s 208 planning agency. This combined, innovative planning project which consisted of the MMSD’s 2020 Facilities Plan (2020 FP) and SEWRPC’s Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update (RWQMPU), called the “Water Quality Initiative” (WQI), was completed and approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in 2007 and concluded: 1) Nonpoint pollution (i.e. stormwater runoff) is the largest source of fecal coliform bacteria, a primary pollutant of concern. The annual bacteria load percentages by source category to the six Greater Milwaukee Watersheds (GMW) are shown in Figure 1. 2) Eliminating the combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that occur 2 – 3 times per year and the very infrequent sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that still may occur during extreme wet weather conditions accompanied by widespread flooding will result in little or no water quality improvement on an annual basis. 3) Significant improvements to water quality can only be achieved through regional implementation of extensive measures to reduce pollution from nonpoint sources. 4) The MMSD’s primary focus of the 2020 FP must be to develop a Recommended Plan that meets the regulatory requirements regarding MMSD’s point sources. 5) Recommendations for nonpoint control measures are presented in the RWQMPU because MMSD lacks authority to implement regional nonpoint control measures. 6) There is no real framework for implementation of the recommendations of the RWQMPU regarding the reduction of nonpoint stormwater pollution.