Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Water Quality Monitoring Data

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) [website, contact] maintains an extensive water quality monitoring program to aid in pollution abatement, facilities planning, and flood control. As a result, a large data set of traditional water quality measurements beginning in 1975 became available. Other physical, biological, and chemical measurements as well as more sampling sites have been added each year. The data is organized into 13 surveys of related geographical sites. Each survey has a map showing data collection sites. A complete list of survey sites is also available.

Surveys

Fish Creek (FC)

Fish Creek is mainly located along the border between Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties in the Village of Bayside and the City of Mequon. The stream emerges from a storm sewer outfall at the south side of Donges Bay Road just west of Port Washington Road in the City of Mequon. Fish Creek drains directly into Lake Michigan 3.43 miles downstream from the source. Major precipitation events result in rapid surface runoff to Fish Creek, thereby causing a flashy response in this stream. This further results in significant flooding in the Village of Bayside. The District is in the process of evaluating options to reduce flooding as well as decreasing erosion along Fish Creek. This survey is conducted 8 times per year (once a month, April - November) and has two sampling sites (FC-01 and FC-02). The Fish Creek survey was added to the District's monitoring program in 2002 in order to collect baseline data. If construction type improvements are chosen as a means to manage flooding problems in this watershed, then the water quality monitoring data will help in documenting and planning this process.

Honey Creek (HC)

Honey Creek originates at the S. 43rd Street storm sewer outfall in the City of Greenfield and flows in a northerly direction for approximately 8.8 miles until its confluence with the Menomonee River in the City of Wauwatosa. The Honey Creek subwatershed encompasses 11 square miles and includes portions of the communities of Greenfield, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and West Allis. Channel modifications such as deepening, straightening, and lining with concrete have been made to 7.1 miles of Honey Creek. The Creek flows under State Fair Park in an enclosed channel that consists of 3 - 10' X 15' pipes. The Honey Creek subwatershed has experienced minor flooding problems, but the biggest problem with this Creek has been the ecological degradation and habitat loss due to channel modifications.
Honey Creek was added to the MMSD sampling program in 2003 and includes five sampling sites (HC-01 - HC-05). Baseline data will be collected for several years prior to any stream improvement projects. Sampling will continue during construction and for several years after construction is completed in order to document potential water quality improvement.

Indian Creek (IC)

Indian Creek is a major tributary of the Milwaukee River located in northern Milwaukee County. The creek, 2.6 miles in length, originates in the Village of Bayside near the intersection of East Brown Deer Road and North Rexleigh Drive. The Creek flows in a generally southwest direction through the Village of Fox Point, crosses Interstate 43 at the boundary of Fox Point and the Village of River Hills, and has its confluence with the Milwaukee River just south of Bradley Road in River Hills. Large storms typically cause flooding in this watershed. This survey is conducted 8 times per year (once a month, April - November) and has four sampling sites (IC-01 through IC-04). The Indian Creek survey was added to the District's monitoring program in 2002 in order to collect baseline data. This stream will continue to be monitored during any construction and for several years after construction is completed. This will allow any changes in water quality, due to watercourse improvements, to be documented.

Lincoln Creek (LC)

Lincoln Creek sites were added as part of the flood control management plan for the northern suburbs. They are sampled concurrently with the major river sites.

Little Menomonee River (ML)

The Little Menomonee River originates in southern Ozaukee County near Freistadt Road and flows in a mostly southerly direction for a distance of approximately 10-miles to its confluence with the Menomonee River near Highway 100 and Hampton Avenue (Timmerman Field area). The Little Menomonee subwatershed encompasses approximately 21.8-square-miles, or nearly 16% of the Menomonee River watershed and includes portions of the communities of Mequon, Germantown, and Milwaukee. It is entirely confined within the borders of Ozaukee and Milwaukee Counties. The majority of the river is contained within natural stream banks. Previous studies have not identified significant historical flooding issues associated with the Little Menomonee River in Milwaukee County; outside of the county, some flooding and/or road overtopping events have been reported. The Little Menomonee River was added to the MMSD sampling program in 2007 and includes two sites (see Table 3). The two sampling sites are designated with an “ML” and a site number. Surveys are scheduled for sampling approximately twice per month from March – December. The monitoring plan is to collect data from this subwatershed in order to assess potential water quality impacts stemming from the Little Menomonee.

Major Rivers (RI)

Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnikinnic River sites are monitored biweekly to provide data for assessing results of pollution and flood control measures.

Nearshore (NS)

Nearshore sites are sampled on a monthly basis (weather dependent) from sites beginning from near Fox Point in the north to near Wind Point in the south (an area of over 300 square miles) to assess Lake Michigan impacts.

Oak Creek (OC)

Oak Creek sites were changed from their original River sites designation (RI-23 to RI-29) in 1998. The purpose of monitoring these sites is to assess impacts of urbanization on what was a rural drainage basin which discharges just north of the Southshore Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Outer Harbor (OH)

Outer Harbor sites are sampled on a biweekly basis during non-ice conditions to assess impacts of the Jones Island Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge. This area is monitored frequently because of extensive recreational use for fishing and boating and because the breakwater affects water mixing with the lake.

Root River (RR)

The Root River drains approximately 197 square miles within Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties. The six Root River sampling sites cover the upper 72 square miles of the watershed to assess impacts of urbanization.

South Shore (SS)

South Shore sites are sampled on a biweekly basis during non-ice conditions to assess impacts of the discharge from the South Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge.

Southbranch Creek (SB)

Southbranch Creek drains an urban area within the Villages of Browndeer and River Hills and the City of Milwaukee. There is a history of flooding of residential neighborhoods during significant storms. These sites were added to assess impacts of the implementation of the flood control plan.

Underwood Creek (UC)

Underwood Creek originates in the City of Brookfield and flows approximately 8 miles, in a southeasterly direction, to its confluence with the Menomonee River. The Underwood Creek subwatershed encompasses approximately 19.8 square miles and includes portions of the communities of Brookfield, Elm Grove and Wauwatosa. The Underwood Creek subwatershed is comprised of the Underwood Creek mainstem, Dousman Ditch, and the South Branch of Underwood Creek. The majority of Underwood Creek (UC) and the South Branch of UC are in a concrete lined channel. The South Branch of UC flows 1.6 miles in a northerly direction from its origin at West Greenfield Avenue to its confluence with Underwood Creek near West Bluemound Road. The South Branch of UC flows through the cities of Milwaukee, West Allis, Brookfield, and New Berlin. Flooding problems have occurred in the UC subwatershed.
Underwood Creek was added to the MMSD sampling program in 2003 and includes two sites on the South Branch of UC and 5 sites on the Underwood Creek mainstem. Baseline data will be collected for several years prior to any stream improvement projects. Sampling will continue during construction and for several years after construction is completed in order to document potential water quality improvement.

Background Information

Data Sets

The original 1975 to 1995 data set was provided by MMSD as a DBase IV flat table. It was imported into Microsoft Access by WATER Institute staff, then exported as a tab-delimited text file for loading into the MySQL database accessible from the WATERbase web server. Subsequent yearly data sets were provided by MMSD as Microsoft Access tables and loaded in a similar manner. The original file layouts were preserved except some field names were altered to avoid using reserved words. View the MMSD historical data set variables and measurement methodology .

NULL versus Zero

For 1975 through 1997 data, samples that were not collected (null values) are represented with a negative nine value, e.g. -99.99, -9.99, and -999 or 99.9 for water temperature. This was done to differentiate null values from zero or not detectable values where a measurement was made but the results were below the detection limit for the test procedure.

Blank fields for 1998 and 1999 databases represent samples that were not collected. Method Detection Limits (MDL) have been applied. Raw data values below the MDL appear as the MDL value.

Blank fields for the 2000-2007 database represent samples that were not collected. Method Detection Limits (MDL) have been applied. Raw data values below the MDL appear as a zero value.

Units of Measurement

These MMSD data sets use weight units (milligrams per liter) for many of the measurements. This is typical for engineering laboratories, but exercise caution when comparing to results retrieved from the WATER Institute chemistry data where molar units (micromoles/L) are used for expressing the most of the results of identical or similar test procedures.

Sample site coordinates were provided by MMSD in degree-minute-second units. These were converted to decimal degrees (available in the Sites table) by WATER Institute staff to be compatible with GIS software they use.

Database Structure

View the database field layouts and statistics .

Contact

Eric Waldmer
Water Resources/Aquatic Biology Supervisor
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
http://www.mmsd.com/
260 W. Seeboth St.
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Phone: 414-277-6383
Fax: 414-272-0270
email: ewaldmer@mmsd.com
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