Drink up, South Milwaukee, the water is safe.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources determined that the city’s water was not contaminated following a recent equipment failure at the South Milwaukee Water Utility. In response, the city issued a boil-out ordinance, which is no longer in effect.
“Residents of South Milwaukee can now drink city tap water, use the water for cooking and preparing infant formula, as they normally would,” said a June 21 press release from the city. . “All South Milwaukee food establishments and businesses can resume normal operations.”
City administrator Tami Mazik said it was “damage sustained during the (June 13) storm” that caused a main pump for the city’s water utility to malfunction and fail. the city.
“Water treatment was not affected by the storm, the distribution system was,” she said.
Ben Huffman, the superintendent of water and wastewater in South Milwaukee, said the storm caused “a series of outages” affecting mechanical, electrical and communications systems.
“The wind didn’t affect the utility, it was more of an electrical issue,” he said.
For a few hours the night of the storm, the water department was unable to pump. Operation was restored, but one pump had “numerous faults,” Huffman said, which ultimately led to the loss of pressure suffered on June 19. South Milwaukee contacted the Oak Creek Water Utility to help deliver water to residents.
South Milwaukee has three service pumps and Huffman estimated the cost to repair storm damage at around $50,000 through contractors and suppliers, though he said it was still ongoing. assessment as of June 20.
Due to low or no pressure in the water system, city officials issued a boil water advisory “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a news release. The city took samples of its water and ran bacterial tests which have since come back negative, according to the DNR.
The boil water advisory had a required minimum duration of 48 hours, Mayzik said.
To help residents, the city distributed water at City Hall on June 20. Century Springs and Walmart worked with the city and volunteers to distribute free bottled water. More than 800 cars received free water, according to a post on the city’s Facebook page.
New South Milwaukee Fire Chief John Litchford said all fire hydrants and EMS systems are operational.
“During this whole process, we have not lost the ability to respond to any emergency situation,” he said.
The last time South Milwaukee had a similar water supply problem was in February 2010, when a water main burst, Mayzik said.
Anyone with additional questions can contact the South Milwaukee Health Department at 414-768-8055 or visit the city’s website at www.smwi.org.