Project Milwaukee

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee experienced the largest outbreak of cryptosporidium in the spring of 1993.

The outbreak made 400,000 sick. Over 4,000 were hospitalized. And 104 deaths were recorded. It made a lasting impression for many who got sick or simply lived through it.

Lauren Sigfusson

WUWM has been diving into the topic of clean water, or the lack thereof, in southeastern Wisconsin for our Project Milwaukee Series: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters.

Problems like runoff, lead, and even the policies created around water can seem too big to tackle. But work is being done to make an impact to ensure a future with clean water.

Susan Bence

Some people are concerned about the many lead pipes that deliver water into older Milwaukee homes. Others applaud the city for tackling stormwater management through green infrastructure. But how is Milwaukee doing at creating a comprehensive water management plan?

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin scientists are working on new ways to protect drinking and surface water from pollutants. They’re also investigating better methods of cleaning water that's already contaminated. But researchers say success may cost taxpayers more money.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Preston Cole has been promising to place a higher priority on good science when crafting policy. For example, he hopes better research will lead to cleaner drinking water. 

Audrey Nowakowski

WUWM's Project Milwaukee series Great Lakes, Troubled Waters is examining the topic of clean water, or the lack thereof, in southeastern Wisconsin — particularly in a place like Milwaukee that considers itself to be a "water hub."

Water hubs are places where industry, research, and academia converge in their efforts to create sustainable efforts or create new technology utilizing one of our most precious resources.

alexandrink1966 / stock.adobe.com

Quality is perhaps the most important part of any water distribution system. Water utilities process every drop that makes it into our plumbing, which takes a lot of time and energy. One way to keep from overburdening the system is by reducing our consumption — what we know as "water conservation."

Bill Graffin works for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which works in wastewater treatment and conservation efforts in the Milwaukee area. Here are some helpful tips from Graffin on how you can conserve water at home.

Teran Powell

In discussions about the health and safety of water, it’s typical to hear from experts, public health officials and government leaders. But you don't often get the opinions of younger people who are just beginning to learn and care about natural resources.

Young people working with Cream City Conservation Corps are having some real conversations about the environment. August Ball leads the discussion at the group’s regular Tuesday night meeting in the Silver City neighborhood on Milwaukee's south side.

Maayan Silver

Rainstorms are a challenge to clean water. They can cause flooding and potentially damaging runoff. But utilities, landscape architects and others are finding solutions — visible everywhere from the county grounds to your neighborhood ice cream shop.

milwaukee-cryptosporidium-outbreak-lead-water
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Both cryptosporidium and lead have threatened Milwaukee’s clean drinking water. While there are stark differences in the two water contaminants, what can we learn from how the city dealt with both?

First, it’s important to state that cryptosporidium and lead are completely different.

Crypto is a bacteria. Lead is a metal. Crypto has one parasitic source, while lead has many (paint, dust, dirt, pipes). Crypto makes people visibly sick, but lead can be in the body for a long time without showing any side effects.

Roman_23203 / stock.adobe.com

When the Lead and Copper Rule was first issued in 1991, it put federal limits on the acceptable amount of these metals found in drinking water. Cities started testing their water. Researchers experimented with chemicals that could inhibit the corrosion of pipes — the main source of contamination.

But for some cities, like Madison, Wis., that simply wasn’t enough.

Tuesday on Lake Effect:

We’re live from the Cooperage in Milwaukee’s Harbor District for a special broadcast - part of our Project Milwaukee series, Great Lakes, Troubled Waters.

Marti Mikkelson

In older cities like Milwaukee, lead pipes are a potential threat. But there are different problems in rural areas.

Ulao Creek is a tiny stream tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Mequon. On a recent afternoon, the water was high due to heavy rains the night before. And members of environmental group Milwaukee Riverkeeper are testing the water.

Emily Files

In Milwaukee, more than 10% of children test positive for dangerous lead levels in their blood.

Health experts say the most common culprit is lead paint in old homes. But water that travels through lead pipes also poses some risk. Lead lateral pipes connect at least 70,000 older homes in Milwaukee to the city's water mains.

Trusting The Tap: How Perceptions Impact Whether People Drink Tap Water

May 6, 2019
rh2010 / stock.adobe.com

The issue of lead in drinking water isn’t limited to low-income neighborhoods around Milwaukee. The housing stock and the water infrastructure in many city and suburban neighborhoods are old — and lead laterals serve modest houses and sprawling mansions alike.  

Susan Bence

We all know water is fundamental to our lives, and to all livings things. But do you ever stop and think about the water you have access to, and if it is actually clean?

It depends on your perspective, says John Luczaj, head of UW-Green Bay’s geosciences program.

» See More Project Milwaukee: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters Stories

SCREENSHOT/WISCONSIN PUBLIC TELEVISION

Across Wisconsin, tens of thousands of people don’t trust the water that comes out of their tap — due to lead, agricultural runoff or industrial pollution.

To address water quality, there’s $70 million in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget and he's declared 2019 "the year of clean drinking water." However, some in the Republican state Legislature say too much of that money would go to Milwaukee to remove lead water lines, neglecting other areas of the state.

milwaukee-water-quality-project
Susan Bence

With our proximity to Lake Michigan and world-class water research, why don't we have clean water?

WUWM is diving into the topic of clean water, or the lack there of, in southeastern Wisconsin for our Project Milwaukee Series: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department

Update:

On Thursday, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission announced Alfonso Morales will serve as police chief through January 2020.

This is when former Police Chief Edward Flynn's term would have ended. Flynn retired in February and the commission then appointed Morales to serve as interim chief.

Original post, March 27:

Michelle Maternowski

WUWM carried out an informal survey, by driving around town and asking Milwaukeeans what they think about police-community relations here.

We started at Neuvo Mercado El Rey on South Cesar E. Chavez Drive.

“All the policemen in the south side who I know are very friendly to the customers and to us. They do a really good job on the south side," El Rey co-owner Ernesto Villarreal says.

Cynthia Renteria, who was walking into El Rey, says she’s never had any kind of contact or problem with the police, but her father has had a few bad experiences.

Susan Bence

An independent survey released earlier this month indicated that most Milwaukee residents are somewhat, or very, satisfied with police.

Yet many people, especially minorities, view the police through a lens of frustration, anger, or even fear. The city could be at a pivotal juncture, however, with last month's retirement of longtime Police Chief Edward Flynn, and the eventual installation of a new leader.

Throughout WUWM's Project Milwaukee series this week, we've heard from police leaders, activists, and experts about what's being done to mend police-community relations in Milwaukee. We also wanted to hear how officers view the issue.

WUWM's Teran Powell sits down with Milwaukee Police Department Captain Heather Wurth, who's been with the police for more than 20 years, and 17-year veteran Sergeant Sheronda Grant.

Marti Mikkelson

For nearly two decades, Milwaukee County’s Community Prosecution Program has been teaming up police with the District Attorney’s office to respond to citizen complaints. While it remains popular with residents, the program appears to be in jeopardy.

The federal government stopped funding the program last year. Only three of the seven Community Prosecution Units remain in operation in Milwaukee County, that is until they spend the last of the money allotted to them in previous years.

Maria C. Maldonado

If you’re involved in community activism in Milwaukee, it’s likely you’ve met Markasa Tucker.

She’s the leader of several advocacy groups, including the African-American RoundtableUBLAC Milwaukee, and The Alternative.

North American Family Institute / facebook.com

Project Milwaukee: To Protect and Serve has been addressing the often strained relationship between Milwaukee’s Police Department and the communities it’s sworn to protect. However, these issues aren’t unique to Milwaukee. Many urban communities are facing the same kinds of problems with police and community members.

Maayan Silver

One group on Milwaukee's near north side is taking action to reduce crime, improve safety and meet other needs in their community.

Nasheka and Jerome Bryant are the husband and wife team at the heart of the Freedom Fighters organization. 

The organization is made up of civilians who work independently from police. They patrol, respond to calls and mediate to resolve conflicts, often in hopes that police don't need to be called to the scene.

CC4QP / youtube.com

The mission of Community Coalition for Quality Policing is to reduce crime in Milwaukee, increase the cooperation between police and community members, and improve morale among police officers.

CC4QP is made up of a diverse group of 20 plus advocacy, faith and service organizations - including the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP.

Fred Royal, president of the chapter, says, "Policing, just like any relationship, has to be worked on constantly."

Marti Mikkelson

This week, we’re examining police-community relations, as part of our series Project Milwaukee: To Protect and Serve. The relationship is sometimes tense. But, there are examples of the police and community working together to solve problems.

I stopped at the monthly crime and safety meeting on Milwaukee's near south side last week. More than 100 people who live in the neighborhood filed in to the Mitchell Street Library to take their seats.

Vincent Desjardins, flickr

All this week, our latest Project Milwaukee series, To Protect and Serve, is examining the state of police-community relations here.

WUWM's latest Project Milwaukee series, To Protect and Serve, airs March 26-30.  It will focus on relations between law enforcement and the community it is sworn to protect, at a time of major transition.  We preview the series with two of the people that helped shape it — Ann-Elise Henzl, WUWM News director and Audrey Nowakowski, Lake Effect producer and Project Milwaukee co-executive producer.

As WUWM gears up for our latest Project Milwaukee series, we want to hear from you.

Airing March 26-30, Project Milwaukee: To Protect And Serve will examine the past, present and future of police-community relations in Milwaukee.

Because YOU are the community in police-community relations, it is important that we include your questions, your voices, your experiences.

So, here's how to participate:

1.) Help shape this series.

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