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Storm Water Sewer Repairs Could Cost up to $68 Million

But consultants' estimates presented Monday don't include cost of fixing sanitary sewers.

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.

Bob McBride August 23, 2011 at 11:55 AM
I attended this meeting. Our home is right in the middle of the cross shaped red zone pictured above. I didn't come away from the meeting with the feeling that when all is said and done we're going to be much less prone to flooding than we are now. I find it highly unlikely the $68MM proposal is going to be considered. My guess is that they'll select the $24MM proposal, insist everyone get their laterals fixed, downspouts disconnected from ground connections and install sump pumps where applicable - and we'll end up with a timeline for completion somewhere out in the 10-12 year area. There were some interesting comments from a gentleman who seemed familiar with how Shorewood is handling it. According to him, the goal in Shorewood is to be able to handle 4" of rain falling over an hour, that the final cost of the project is $31MM, and that they've already started on some of the sewers that route the water to Lake Michigan. I don't know if that's the case or not, but if so they're much further along than we are and, apparently, more intent on protecting vulnerable homes. It was interesting that the folks from our Village several times mentioned actions being taken by Shorewood to be completed by 2013 as being part of the remedy to WFB's problems. My understanding is that this was pretty much the same presentation given a month ago at a board meeting, with the exception of the introduction of the concept of "street storage".
Bob McBride August 23, 2011 at 12:07 PM
(ran into Tolstoy's conundrum).... "Street storage" is essentially allowing streets to fill up and be part of the "solution". According to the presenters from Donahue, streets that currently have a propensity to have a lot of "street storage" going on during heavy rain events will not be considered as potential "street storage" sites should that option be a part of the final, accepted proposal.
Suzanne Singh August 23, 2011 at 03:00 PM
I was not able to attend the meeting last night and there is no information or legend attached to the photo above. Can someone explain what the red areas, green circles and ovals, and yellow lines represent?
Bob McBride August 23, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Suzanne, The presentation was videotaped and will be posted on the Village website. I believe they are also going to be posting the powerpoint presentation that was used as well. From memory, this is the best I can recall about the two color designations: The red, I believe, represents the flooded areas for a 100 year storm, which I believe is somewhere around 3.8". The green represents the area that would be underwater in what they called a 2 year storm (I think), or 3/4" of rain. The yellow lines represent storm sewers, I believe - in this case the main that runs along Hampton and then turns south towards the outlet into the river. I remember this chart from the last time I was at a meeting, so you may be able to find it with the proper (versus what I remember) designations on the WFB website: www.wfbvillage.org
Bob McBride August 23, 2011 at 03:49 PM
The link to the powepoint presentation is here: http://www.wfbvillage.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={3D07B86B-51B6-43C5-9BE7-0BD45C3F2A27}&DE={F6949964-C975-4993-81C3-2116E050967F}
Bob McBride August 23, 2011 at 03:56 PM
There may be a market for seasonal waterfront property. Living on a lake or river year round has its drawbacks.
Jeff Rumage August 23, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Thanks Bob, for attaching the PowerPoint link. I've also included the link in the story. Regarding the legend of the photo above, the yellow lines represent existing sewer lines, and the blue arrows indicate the flow direction. The red shows areas flooded due to inadequate inlet capacities in a 10-year storm (3.8 inches/day). The green shows areas that experience minor flooding in the parking lane during a 2-year rain event. The photo above (and this information here) is pulled from Crispell-Snyder's stormwater management plan for the southwestern portion of the village. That plan was folded into the Donohue plan presented last night. You can view Crispell-Snyder's plan here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/46337855/Storm-Water-Management-Plan-for-Localized-Southwest-Drainage-Basin-Flooding
Drive To 24 August 25, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Funny Bob!
Drive To 24 August 25, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Here's a interesting statement. "Adding to the dilemma is the shrink-government mentality of the conservative leadership strutting around the legislature and Governor's office.Driven by ideology, they have limited spending by local governments and simultaneously are unfriendly to state-financed lending that can assist localities faced with necessary, but huge infrastructure needs and thus the inevitable bills.It's a political and financial choke hold, regardless of real-world realities - - financial, scientific, natural, environmental, political. " JR
Bob McBride August 25, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Also interesting and perhaps ironic is the location of choice for this meeting. One of 3 opulent shrines to educational overindulgence that were part of a $21.9MM project completed just this year, and approved by the village residents smack dab in the middle of the "recession". Maybe if communities (including their residents) could be relied upon to spend in a responsible fashion instead of falling victim to tales of substandard schools and declining property values unless we spend, spend spend, the need for actions like those taken in Madison would disappear and the ability to pay to fix things that really do contribute to declining property values would still be there.

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