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Tosa's Schoonmaker Creek Figures in Annual MMSD Video Review

Sewerage district talks about what it did in 2012, and a good deal of that talk has to do with issues in Wauwatosa.

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has released its annual review video for 2012, and more than one highlight from the reel has implications for Wauwatosa – one of them directly.

Segments on inflow and infiltration of stormwater into sanitary sewer laterals should be familar language by now to residents of East Tosa, where 80-year-old sewer lines are in need of $100 million in repairs.

Among local laterals already investigated and repaired under MMSD pilot projects are many in East Tosa.

At the 2:28 mark in the video, MMSD's Tim Bate talks about a major capital project completed in 2012 at North 59th and State streets.

That's the location of the mouth of Schoonmaker Creek. The video footage shows a torrent of water pouring from an outlet structure into the Menomonee River.

The new facility's six 44 million-gallon pumps "protect a wide area of our service area," Bate says in the film.

The pump station is an overflow relief valve for the sanitary sewer system that will significantly help reduce the risk of basement backups during extreme storms, said MMSD's Bill Graffin.

That should be some relief to East Tosa residents who have been plagued with backups since a series of unprecedented rain events began to occur in 1997.

Wauwatosa considers giving over control of creek

Schoonmaker Creek contributes to not only localized but regional flooding, spilling across municipal boundaries and adding to the flow of the Menomonee as it courses downstream from Wauwatosa.

Tuesday night, the Wauwatosa Common Council's Budget and Finance Committee will consider approving an application to turn over control of the entire Schoonmaker Creek watershed to MMSD to even better control flooding.

The MMSD would assume part – by no means all – of the cost of mitigating flooding on the mostly underground creek. Schoonmaker Creek historically drained an area stretching across much of East Tosa and into Milwaukee. These days, it is exposed to daylight only in the Washington Highlands subdivision.

There are fish in our future

The MMSD video also celebrates the resumption of salmon and steelhead runs in the Kinnickinnic River on Milwaukee's South Side – which should also soon be an exciting opportunity for anglers on the Menomonee River in Wauwatosa.

In very similar situations, both streams are being freed from concrete channels with spill structures that defeat most fish trying to swim upstream on their spawning runs.

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