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Masonry cleaning entails the use of abrasive, chemical, water, steam or other method to remove paint, dirt, and oxidation from the surface of a commercial or residential building. Masonry cleaning can involve the use of hazardous chemicals and abrasive blasting techniques that can create undesirable air emissions, safety hazards and community nuisances. Therefore, the City requires that a permit be obtained by a property owner or contractor prior to conducting exterior masonry cleaning of a building anywhere within the city of Milwaukee.

To obtain an exterior masonry cleaning permit, a contractor or property owner must submit:

  1. A completed application and a masonry cleaning worksheet, along with the application fee.
  2. A detailed sketch or diagram of the proposed work area indicating all controls to be used to minimize the creating of environmental contamination or public nuisance. 
  3. Copies of all applicable Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals to be used as part of the cleaning method. Other information may be requested by inspectional staff before the permit is issued. The plans will be thoroughly reviewed for applicable health code compliance and followed by daily on‐ site inspections. Inspectors will monitor all phases of the project and work closely with the property owner, contractors, architects and consultant to ensure thorough code compliance. At completion of the project, a final inspection is performed to ensure that the project was conducted properly and there is no evidence of risk to the environment or public as a result of exterior masonry building cleaning activities.
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Environmental Permit Application (DNS-185)

Use this form to apply for a permit dealing with asbestos removal, masonry cleaning, swimming pools and other DNS Environmental Section functions.

Masonry Cleaning Information and Worksheet (DNS-186)

This file contains all the information necessary including permit worksheet and application for cleaning the exterior of a masonry building. Includes precautions to take, additional permits required for sidewalk closure and special rules for historic buildings. Questions on this matter can be answered by calling the DNS Environmental Section at (414) 286-3280.

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Environmental Inspection
841 N. Broadway
Room 105
Milwaukee, WI 53202  

(414) 286-3280