Heavy storm floods basements, causes problems 'everywhere'

July 23, 2010

Wauwatosa officials have received hundreds of calls from property owners dealing with flooded basements from last night's storms.

Sewers have been backing up and the Menomonee River has overflowed, City Administrator James Archambo said.

He and city workers have been conducting damage assessments of city facilities. So far most have only seen minor problems, but he had not yet gotten over to Hart Park and its buildings, which are next to the river.

As far as Wauwatosa School District buildings, no problems have been found, spokesman Chris Preisler said this afternoon.

Archambo could not pinpoint one area of the city that was hit hardest. "We're pretty much seeing problems everywhere," he said.

Neighborhoods - around Meinecke Avenue, north of Watertown Plank Road and in East Tosa - where flooding has caused basement backups in past years are experiencing problems again. But the geographic area impacted expanded this time around, he said.

The Wauwatosa Police Department is getting calls about people trying to use the river as a kayak and canoe launch, Lt. Gerald Witkowski said.

"That simply is a dangerous thing to do with the fast and high level water conditions," he said.

He also warned residents to stay out of standing water in their basements due to electrical hazards.

Public works crews will be working throughout the weekend. Residents can bring storm damaged debris to the city's dropoff center, 11100 W. Walnut Road. Trucks will also be making there way through city streets to pick up items.

People are encouraged to clear water intake grates of debris in the curb areas near there properties.

Forecasts calling for more rain through Saturday have Archambo concerned. Not only is he worried about further flooding from the river and creeks, but Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District has closed off its deep tunnel. That means the contents of Tosa's sewers have nowhere to go.

"That significantly comprises our system," he said. "That only exacerbates the problems we are already experiencing.


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