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Public Engagement: Keeping Lines of Communication Open with Both the Satellite Municipalities and the Public

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In 2001, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) embarked upon its 2020 Facilities Plan (2020 FP), the newest generation in many decades of facilities plans. The MMSD 2020 FP will identify facilities, policies, operational improvements, and programs that are required to achieve the water resource goals inspired by its public.

The MMSD is in the midst of a long-range planning effort to identify improvements needed for its facilities to accommodate growth and protect water quality through the year 2020. This planning effort is identifying all sources of water pollution to the region's rivers, lakes and Lake Michigan, including sewer overflows, which MMSD is working hard to minimize with an aggressive overflowreduction plan that commits significant resources to attacking the problem. Besides looking at sewer overflows, MMSD is using science to identify where it makes the most sense to spend additional money to improve water quality.

To better understand the expectations of the region's residents and to effectively communicate with the stakeholders throughout the planning process, MMSD established a number of committees and a variety of methods for communication with its public.

In addition to ongoing planning efforts, MMSD interacts with municipalities, developers, citizens, and special interest groups concerning initiatives already in place, including: (1) Stormwater management; (2) Development and implementation of Capacity assurance, Management, Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) Program; (3) Sanitary sewer capacity and flow allocations; (4) Sanitary sewer construction and inspection; (5) Connections to the regional system; (6) Flow monitoring; and (7)Coordination with MMSD capital projects.

This paper describes the integrated program employed to effectively communicate with the varied stakeholders in these important regional water quality efforts.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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