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It took less than a day for torrential rain to cause $32 million of flood damage in an industrial area on Milwaukee’s north side. On July 22, 2010, more than eight inches of rain drenched homes and businesses in the 30th Street Corridor, a low lying landscape that just couldn’t handle all the water that gravity drained its way.
With extensive input from neighbors and nearby businesses, a project is underway to capture and store 40 million gallons of stormwater to reduce the risk of flooding when storms roll over the area. The plan calls for building three flood basins that will be dry most of the time until they are needed for heavy rain. All three basins will slowly drain to Lincoln Creek after the storms have passed.
Through voluntary sales on North 30th Street, MMSD purchased three empty lots and seven homes to make way for one of the three new flood basins. Houses were deconstructed, salvaging wood and other material that can be used again or recycled. The basin will hold 1.7 million gallons and was designed to incorporate aesthetic, recreational and safety concepts that neighbors desired, including usable green space.
East Basin (Above)
DRS Power and Control Technologies employs more than 500 people in its 30th St. Corridor facilities that have been heavily impacted by flooding throughout the years. The company worked closely with MMSD and the City of Milwaukee to come up with a way to improve drainage and reduce flooding risks and sold MMSD property to create a 7.6 million gallon storage basin on the north side of the DRS property.
North Basin (Above)
Nestled next to Lincoln Creek, this 6.3 acres of concrete and brick and metal buildings will turn green in the near future with a 30 million gallon flood basin providing increased protection for the area. The project will be constructed in two phases. The first work in 2016 includes building demolition and the removal of several feet of contaminated soil. The rest of the work will occur years later when the stormwater basin and new sewers are constructed.
As with nearly all MMSD flood management projects, the 30th St. Corridor Flood Management Project is designed to protect against the one-percent probability flood, commonly called the 100 year flood. A one-percent probability flood has a one percent chance of occurring every year.