In the City of Milwaukee, a joint demonstration project between the city and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is tackling the largest contributor of damaging basement backups during and after heavy rain events.
Clear water flow into the sanitary sewer system (sometimes referred to as “inflow and infiltration” or I&I) from private property sources causes devastating damage to basements during and after heavy rain events.
In the Cooper Park Sewer Lateral Demonstration Project, property owners are allowing inspections and rehabilitation/repairs to sewer laterals that could significantly reduce the likelihood of basement backups during heavy rains. To date, eighty seven percent (87%) of property owners in an area located largely between N. 85th St. and N. 92nd St. from W. Center St. to W. Burleigh St. have volunteered to take part in the FREE project (the inspections and repairs are fully funded by the city and MMSD – property owners pay nothing).
As part of the Cooper Park project, located in the 5th Aldermanic District (Alderman Jim Bohl), participating property owners receive written notification if it is determined that the inspection shows a need for rehabilitation work on the lateral.
The rehabilitation involves a contractor, hired by the city, installing a sanitary sewer cleanout within the property to access the building sewer (lateral). The sanitary lateral is rehabilitated with a cured-in-place lining method (trenchless). For some properties, a small 2-to-6 foot repair may be necessary in the lawn or the roadway during the lining process. The excavation for the cleanout is typically only about 2 feet wide and disturbances to the site are completely restored after completion.
The process of rehabilitating the sanitary lateral typically limits the use of water for only a few hours. The contractor will notify property owners of the times to limit water use.
Work in the Cooper Park demonstration project started during fall 2011 and is expected to be completed by May 2012.
During the next phase of the Cooper Park project, the city will be seeking properties in the project area to have their foundation drain capped and a sump pump installed. This is because pre-1955 plumbing codes allowed foundation drains to be connected to sanitary sewers, and as a result, clear rain water fills pipes that otherwise should be used to remove waste. It is expected that this work will be done during late 2012 or early 2013.
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Zafar Yousuf of the Department of Public Works Environmental Engineering Division at 414-286-2467.