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City plugs MMSD dollars into foundation drains

March 1, 2012

To reduce the need to dump diluted raw sewage into Lake Michigan and into area rivers, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is offering cash for homeowners to disconnect their foundation drains from sanitary sewers.

This week, Greenfield's Board of Public Works decided Greenfield residents should get a shot at some of that money.

To do that, the board recommended the city's first residential inflow and infiltration sanitary sewer reduction program. If approved by the Common Council on March 20 and by the MMSD, 75 percent of the $6,000 to $10,000 cost of disconnecting drains and switching over to sump pumps would be covered by the MMSD.

About 25 percent of Greenfield's homes have foundation drains connected to sanitary sewers because they were built before 1954, when the connections were legal, said Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services.

But those connections make it more likely the MMSD will have to dump sewage into the lake and rivers. When it rains, rainwater floods into its sewage treatment plants, overwhelming them so dumping is the only option to prevent sewage backup into peoples' basements.

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