Public informational hearing for Milwaukee Basin study to improve water quality

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public informational hearing on Nov. 15, 2016 and is accepting public comments through Dec. 9, 2016 on a draft plan to reduce phosphorus and other pollutants in the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee rivers.

The draft plan, which takes the form of a total maximum daily load calculation or TMDL, was developed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and its consultants with oversight from DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Kevin Kirsch, DNR water resources engineer managing the project, said a TMDL represents a set of calculations that evaluates the amount of pollutant a water body can receive and still meet applicable water quality standards. The state is required to develop TMDLs for impaired waters under the federal Clean Water Act.

DNR and the Milwaukee sewerage district presented the draft plan in July and conducted a series of informational meetings to help stakeholders understand the contents of the draft plan. DNR is now shepherding the TMDL plan through any adjustments and final approval by EPA.

“We appreciated the strong turnout at the meetings and have been working with municipalities and other stakeholders to build understanding of the draft plan,” Kirsch said. “The plan took years to develop and it is a sizeable document so we wanted to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to digest and evaluate the study.”

Once the draft plan is approved, the Milwaukee sewerage district will engage with stakeholders to develop an implementation plan, building on previous efforts to meet the water quality goals laid out in the TMDL. It is anticipated that it will take about a year to develop the implementation plan, which will help define progress benchmarks and target cost effective practices.

“DNR appreciates the work of the Milwaukee sewerage district in developing the draft plan, which will serve as the framework to achieve cleaner water in the region,” Kirsch said. “Communities, industries and agricultural producers already have made important strides in reducing pollutants that flow into the system and this TMDL study will build on that success.”

A copy of the draft TMDL plan as well as copies of earlier presentations and supporting documentation can be found by searching the DNR website, for “Milwaukee Basin TMDL.”

The public informational hearing will be held on Nov. 15 from 9:30 till noon in the Firefly Room at the Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W. North Ave. Wauwatosa, Wis 53213. Comments on the initial draft plan may be submitted via or by mailing to: Kevin Kirsch, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921