July 23, 2010

Racine sewer plant avoids dumping into Lake Michigan

Racine's wastewater plant withstood last night's heavy rains. 

Keith Haas, manager of Racine's water and wastewater utilities, reported Friday morning that Racine had no "bypasses" last night. In other words, they didn't have to dump sewage into Lake Michigan to protect the sewer plant's equipment. 

Racine was able to treat all of its sewage thanks to an $85 million expansion completed in 2005. Prior to the expansion, the utility was forced, at times, to dump millions of gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater into the lake. 

Milwaukee still has that problem, according to the J-S. The city's deep tunnels filled up last night and the utility had no option but pollute the lake. 

Racine may still be forced to do the same, Haas said. If we get another 2 inches of rain tonight, which is possible, the plant may not be able to treat incoming water fast enough and some partially treated, or untreated, sewage may get dumped.