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MMSD Must Make Big Fix Below Downtown Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District may have to make costly repairs to its Deep Tunnel in downtown Milwaukee, because of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on Thursday.

In 2003, Bostco LLC  sued MMSD, claiming groundwater was seeping into the district's storage tunnel, lowering the water table downtown and leaving the foundations of some Bostco buildings exposed to air. The company says rotting has resulted.

Initially, circuit court ordered MMSD to line the downtown sections of its tunnel with concrete to reduce leakage. However, state appeals court reversed the order, after the MMSD argued a concrete lining would cost tens of millions of dollars.

On Thursday, theWisconsin Supreme Courtoverturned the appeals court and sent the case back to circuit court, suggesting it conduct a hearing on MMSD's options for abating the leakage.

The majority of justices concluded that the sewerage district is not immune from liability.

The two who dissented claim the decision expands government liability and expenses for taxpayers.