Heavy rains lead to worry for those at MMSD

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- This week's wet weather is causing some worry for those who work with MMSD and the deep tunnel system.

Kevin Shafer is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. He says this week's rain is reason to worry.

"I start sweating and I start staying up at night. It's something we take very seriously here at MMSD. We've seen significant rainfall, and unfortunately, we see more coming at us," Shafer said.

Shafer says MMSD has been in a sort of storm mode since Sunday, April 7th, which means employees have been monitoring the status of Greater Milwaukee's deep tunnel system.

"Depending on how hard and how fast that rainfall comes down, we really need to monitor that as well. So we're not close, but if it continues coming at us in waves like this, we're gonna have to take steps to protect people's basements," Shafer said.

One of those steps could include allowing waste and storm water to bypass treatment facilities and move directly into the area's river systems.

"If it just rained very slow and steady for a week, which I love, then we'd be okay, but it's these heavy spikes that we get -- these heavy downpours," Shafer said.

The rain-related news is not just rife with worry. There is also some reward.

Van Klump of UW-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences says with the Lake Michigan water levels remaining below average for the past 14 years, this stretch of precipitation is providing an improved prognosis.

"Precipitation is gonna help our lake level situation. It has been fairly wet, and so the projections are now that lake levels will be two to four inches above the all-time low over the next few months," Klump said.

The FOX6 forecast calls for rain for the remainder of the work week -- before things dry out on Friday and Saturday. Rain may return to the area on Sunday.