More than a year after , consultants hired to fix sewer problems in the village delivered their preliminary findings to more than 50 residents Monday night.
During their presentation at , consultants Donohue and Associates recommended the village replace its storm sewers to accomodate heavier rainfall, as well as create a retention area in to store some of the stormwater.
The price tag associated with the project depends on the level of protection the Village Board decides upon at a future meeting.
For $23 million in construction costs, consultant Steve Stricklen of Donohue said enough storm sewers could be replaced to keep village streets dry if 3.8 inches of rain fell over a 24-hour period.
To prepare for another 2 inches in a 24-hour period, the village would have to spend $24 million, and even then, there would be some ponds in the street.
If the board should choose to protect most of the houses in the village from a rainstorm similar to that of July 22, when 8.5 inches fell in an eight-hour time period, nearly every storm sewer in the village would have to replaced, costing a total $68 million, Stricklen said.
Donohue did not release an estimated timetable of how long it would take to complete any of the stormwater alternatives brought forward at Monday's informational meeting.
Assistant Village Engineer Aaron Jahncke said Donohue's final report is expected to come before the Village Board in October or November, and some cost and timetable estimates will be available at that time.
But stormwater is only one piece of the puzzle. Sanitary sewer systems, which handle wastewater, are easily overloaded during heavy rainstorms, causing basement backups and overflows into stormwater sewer pipes. The excess rainwater or groundwater that does not belong in sanitary sewer pipes is also known as "clear water."
The consultants said clear water could be reduced by installing larger sanitary sewer pipes, but regulations limit how much water can be sent to the interceptor sewer system. Larger pipes can be used to store the water, however.
Clear water can also be reduced by disconnecting foundation drains and putting in a sump pump, which is up to the homeowner. Clear water can also be reduced by replacing and lining sanitary sewer in the street, which the village has been doing, and by homeowners replacing and lining service laterals to their homes.
"In Whitefish Bay, there are beautiful old homes, but they may have the same clay service lateral that was there when the house was built," Stricklen said. "They may be in pretty poor shape, potentially letting in a lot of clear water."
Sanitary sewers are on private property, but homeowners may receive assistance in paying for sanitary sewer improvements through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's Private Property Inflow and Infiltration Reduction program. The Village Board has formed a committee of three trustees – Jim Roemer, Kevin Buckley and Lauri Rollings – to further investigate a PPII program for the village.
Consultants did not release any cost estimates for sanitary sewer improvements at this time, but Stricklen said that information will be presented later.
Video of the meeting and slides from the consultants' PowerPoint presentation will be available on the village's website in the future.