drone photo of basin h

Basin H Sewers PCB Cleanup

Project Update

The Basin H sewer cleaning project is almost complete! Site restoration continues at work sites, including a new permeable granite pathway in Pleasant Valley Park and improved stairs along the Pleasant Valley Park Trail. There will be no impact on traffic. To learn more about the project status, watch the October 2022 Basin H Update video.

Project Description

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is partnering with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to clean sewers located west of the Milwaukee River along North Humboldt Boulevard between East Capitol Drive and East Locust Street known as “Basin H”.

A 2008 investigation identified the Milwaukee Die Cast Company, located at 4132 North Holton Street in the City of Milwaukee, as the primary source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), that were coating sewers in this area. PCB’s are legacy chemicals that were banned in 1978 which require removal to avoid problems in the future and keep our rivers and lake clean. The USEPA removed the PCB’s at the business site. MMSD is now preparing to remove and safely dispose of the PCB contamination that remains in the sewers. 

This project is part of a larger initiative to clean up the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). Learn more about the AOC by watching this John Gurda video or visiting the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website here.  

Description of the Process

A qualified contractor will use powerful vacuum equipment and specially outfitted trucks with sealed liquid containers to complete the cleaning process through manholes located along North Humboldt Boulevard and in Kern and Pleasant Valley Parks. Precautions will be made to secure the work sites and prevent any sediment from migrating further downstream.

This project will follow a USEPA approved remediation work plan which consists of the following steps:

  • Clean the sewers and remove the contaminated sediments
  • Dry out the removed sediment and capture/contain the water
  • Test the sediment for PCB’s and send to an appropriate disposal site
  • Treat (to remove PCB’s) all wastewater captured as part of the sediment removal and sewer cleaning process
  • Test the treated wastewater for PCB’s before putting it back into the sewer system
  • Televise the sewer with cameras to ensure sediment has been removed
  • Perform pre‐cleaning and post‐cleaning sampling of sewers and work areas

Project Map

mmsd basin H map
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    Typical vacuum equipment used to remove PCB’s from sewers.

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    Trucks with sealed liquid container.


Milwaukee County Parks will continue to be open to the public, but there will be limited traffic and trail impacts during the project.


  • 2016 - 2021 - Project Design
  • Winter 2022 - Late 2023 – PCB Removal, Treatment, Disposal, and Site Restoration Work

*Timeline subject to change


  • Cleaner sewers
  • Improved water quality
  • A healthier community

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or concerns, please fill out the form below.

Contact MMSD below to let us know what you think about the project!






  • Participate in upcoming events. MMSD will conduct stakeholder and public outreach activities throughout the entirety of the project.
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