Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Night Meeting in Milwaukee To Discuss Bradford Beach Cleanup

A public meeting of the Milwaukee County Conservation Coalition will be held 7:00 PM at the offices of the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium, 1845 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee, with discussion of Bradford Beach pollution and cleanup issues on the agenda.

In advance of that meeting, here is a guest posting by Cheryl Nenn, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, with the local environmental organization Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers:

I went to a public hearing on the Bradford Beach pollution issues held in July, and echo continuing concerns among activists that a proposed action plan has some shortcomings.

[A recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story with some background on the Bradford Beach cleanup issue is here.)

Although the same consultants were used for the Bradford and Racine projects (Earthtech), the solutions at Bradford fall more in the “window dressing” and education realm, and I don’t think will address the water quality issues.

The City of Racine was much more aggressive in detecting illicit discharges that contribute human fecal material to the stormwater outfalls, and created a much larger bio-retention facility to deal with the contamination.

The gardens at Bradford also will not be able to contain all rainwater from the outfalls and so any pollutants captured will probably be washed out and down the beach periodically.

When I asked whether or not they had found where the human fecal bacteria were coming from (as identified by Prof. Sandra McClellan of the UWM WATER Institute), they stated that they hadn’t found it, but the County apparently did conduct some dye testing and other televising tests and found no problems, intimating that the City sewer along Lake Drive was the culprit.

They also were saying that they wouldn’t use pervious pavement in repaving the lots because it wasn’t proven in cold climates, which is ridiculous, in my opinion, as there is a ton of research to the contrary.

Tom Chapman from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and I tried to make a case, but to no avail.

They did talk about putting in an engineered device at some of the parking lots that could be more easily maintained than pervious pavement and would still reduce some of the sedimentation and runoff from the parking lots to the beaches.

Steve Keith at Milwaukee County government is the lead, and may be able to talk at the MCCC meeting on Tuesday, September 25th. (His number is 278-4355).

Milwaukee County Parks Director Sue Black spoke at the hearing, saying that she still had a lot of questions about the project, and I’m not sure if there have been any design alterations since the July meeting or not.

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