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Milwaukee sewage overflows diverted into local waterways


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Sewage overflows were being diverted into local waterways in Metro Milwaukee Wednesday morning.

That’s after heavy rains of up to 3.75 inches filled up the area’s Deep Tunnel sewage system.

Kevin Shafer, who heads Milwaukee’s Sewerage District, said the overflows were diverted to preserve space in the Deep Tunnel – and to prevent the excess sewage from backing up into basements.

Two large sewage treatment plants were still working, so a good part of the combined material from the sanitary and storm sewers was still being disinfected before going into Lake Michigan.

Wednesday morning’s combined overflow is the first for the Milwaukee system in almost two years. The district’s sewage permit allows six overflows a year – but only on days when heavy rainstorms hamper the system’s ability to keep up.

Milwaukee rain gauges recorded the highest rainfalls in the state Tuesday.

Freezing rain and snow hit much of the northern part of Wisconsin overnight, and an icy wintry mix is expected to continue through Thursday.