Mary Beth Nevulis is the managing editor of Storm Water Solutions. Nevulis can be reached at [email protected]
Nov 27, 2012

Down In a Hole

Last week, the Storm Water Solutions editorial staff received a once-a-decade opportunity to get a first-hand look at Milwaukee’s Deep Tunnel, one of the largest storm water systems in the world.

During heavy rains, the Deep Tunnel fills with overflow storm water and sewage. Eventually, wastewater is pumped out and cleaned at a treatment facility; however, floating debris accumulates in the tunnel over the years.

Our staff first viewed the aboveground operations of boats and equipment being lowered into the tunnel with a crane, and then watched as a load of debris was brought up from the tunnel on the Jones Island facility a mile away.

The grand finale was when the editorial staff was lowered down a 300-ft access shaft in a 4-sq-ft man basket, where we were able to see just a small part of the almost-20-mile-long tunnel. Check out our Facebook page for photos, and follow us on Twitter at @swsmag for updates on events like this.