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GLIN==> Lake Michigan Federation & Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers File Notice of Intent to Sue MMSD



Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers

Embargoed for Release		Contact
10:00 a.m. Central			Bob Boucher, Executive Director -
FMR (414) 476-6042
Thursday, July 12, 2001			Laurel O'Sullivan, Attorney - LMF
(312) 939-0838

Citizens' Groups File Notice of Intent to Sue; Billions of Gallons of
Wastewater to Lake from Milwaukee Cited

Milwaukee, WI - Two public interest citizens' organizations today filed a
Notice of Intent to Sue the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD)
for billions of gallons of wastewater discharged to regional waterways
causing human health risks, beach closings, and other problems.
	Noting that MMSD has released up to 13 billion gallons of
wastewater, the groups - Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers (FMR) and the Lake
Michigan Federation (LMF) - claim in their notice that MMSD has illegally
discharged highly polluted waste to contaminate Lake Michigan, rivers, and
groundwater supplies since 1994.
	"As citizens we're invoking our rights under the Clean Water Act to
have clean, 'fishable and swimmable' water in our rivers and lakes," said
Bob Boucher, Riverkeeper and executive director of Friends of Milwaukee's
Rivers. "South Beach here in Milwaukee has closed 12 of the 18 times tested
in June or July because of bacteria contamination. That's unacceptable for
the quality of life of citizens in this community."
	According to the Lake Michigan Federation, MMSD's troubles go beyond
Milwaukee to have a negative effect on all four Lake Michigan states.
	"Millions of people visit Lake Michigan's beaches every year and
rely on it for drinking water," said Cameron Davis, executive director of
the Lake Michigan Federation. "MMSD is the largest pollution discharger to
Lake Michigan, so when it releases untreated wastewater, it hurts the entire
region's natural heritage, public health, and even economic viability."
	Area beaches are often forced to close by local officials when
bacteria counts exceed allowable limits under state water quality standards.
People can come into contact with dangerous viruses, bacteria, and protozoa
from sewage in the lake, which originate from untreated water containing
animal and human waste. Bacterial pathogens can cause vomiting, diarrhea,
stomachache, nausea, headache, and fever. Other pathogens can cause
giardiasis, amoebic dysentery, skin rashes, and pink eye.
Everyone who heavily uses nearshore areas for recreation - including
kayakers and swimmers - is at risk when untreated wastewater is present, but
children may be most susceptible if they put contaminated sand in their
	Wisconsin has experienced increased numbers of beach closings for
the past five years. According to recent Federation research, the state
experienced 77 closings in 1996, 131 in '97, 133 in '98, 109 in '99, and 246
in 2000. More on Wisconsin's beach closings is available online at
<http://www.lakemichigan.org/conservation/beach_wisconsin.asp> and at
	"MMSD continually violates the Clean Water Act with regard to sewer
overflows," said Karen Schapiro, attorney for the groups. We'll be seeking a
remedy that ensures court supervision to ensure the agency abides by the
requirements of the Clean Water Act."
* * * * * * *

Formed in 1970, the Lake Michigan Federation is the oldest citizens' Great
Lakes organization in North America. Its mission is to restore fish and
wildlife habitat, conserve land and water, and eliminate pollution in the
watershed of the largest lake within U.S. borders. More on the Federation
and this lawsuit is available at www.lakemichigan.org

Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers' mission is to protect water quality and
wildlife habitat in the river corridors and to advocate for sound land use
in our watersheds. FMR is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a national
coalition dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation's waterways.
Visit www.mkeriverkeeper.org <http://www.mkeriverkeeper.org>. 

The Lake Michigan Federation and Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers are
represented by Karen M. Schapiro, Esq. Ms. Schapiro practices environmental
law at the Milwaukee firm of Frazer & Schapiro. (414) 347-9500.


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