UPDATE: As of 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, MMSD said Milwaukee residents were no longer being asked to conserve water and that the order had been lifted.
MILWAUKEE – People who live in Milwaukee are still being asked to conserve their water usage after an overflow at the city’s wastewater treatment facility.
Bill Graffin with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District tells WTMJ that the system overflowed when more than seven inches of rain fell between Sunday and Monday.
He says if the decision wasn’t made to release untreated water, it would have backed up into residents’ homes.
“That’s the biggest thing we try to prevent during a storm,” Graffin said. “And the only way we can do that is to open up the relief valves built into the sewer system, which are the overflow points. That sends untreated water to the nearest river. And the Milwaukee, the Menomonee and the Kinnickinnic all flow into Lake Michigan.”
So the MMSD is asking Milwaukee residents to voluntarily curb their water usage until things get back to normal.
“Using less water certainly helps,” Graffin said. “And it’s not ‘don’t use water.’ We’re not saying ‘don’t flush’ or anything like that. Just try and use a little less, if you can. Don’t do the dishwasher… The load of laundry, hold off if you can.”
Graffin says things should be back to normal in a day or two.
You can listen to the entire interview with Bill Graffin of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and WTMJ’s Alex Crowe in the player at the top of the page.