Water-resources-related information for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District planning area, Wisconsin, 1970-2002

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4240

Prepared in cooperation with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
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The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) Corridor Study is a three-phase project designed to improve the understanding of water resources in the stream corridors of the MMSD planning area by initially compiling existing data and using the compiled information to develop 3-year baseline and long-term monitoring plans. This report is one of the products of Phase I of the Corridor Study.

A literature review of surface-water-quality, surface water- quantity, and ecology studies conducted from 1970 through 2001 was completed and is summarized in this report. An inventory of Geographic Information System spatial coverages available for the MMSD planning area has been assembled.

A database of water, sediment, and tissue (fish, shellfish, and others) chemistry, macroinvertebrates, fish, algae, habitat, geomorphic, and other physical and ecological data was compiled from data sets from MMSD, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 2.7 million results are available in the MMSD Corridor Study database and the compilation of multiple datasets allows for retrieving data from a central database rather than from each of the source datasets. Data for 1970 through 2002 were collected for the 420-square-mile planning area by various agencies using different field data-collection and laboratory analysis methods. Chemical constituents and ecological components that are important to an urban setting and well represented in the database were selected for further investigation. Each constituent or component is described in this report with some or all of the following: a text summary, map of sampling locations, and in some cases median concentrations, statistical distributions of concentrations by subwatershed, table of summary statistics by subwatershed, and graphs of temporal and (or) seasonal trends.

Physical data presented in the report include streamflow, stream stage, and precipitation data. Chemical indicators of water quality presented in the report include field measurements and miscellaneous constituents (pH, alkalinity, specific conductance, hardness, dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, and chloride), sediment (total suspended solids and suspended sediment), nutrients (total nitrogen, nitrate, Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, and dissolved phosphorus), trace elements (cadmium, mercury, copper, lead, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and zinc), pesticides (historically used pesticides and pesticides still in use), and polychlorinated biphenyls. Ecological indicators of water quality discussed in the report include community surveys of macroinvertebrates and fish, chlorophyll a concentrations, habitat assessments and channel-measurement data, and fecal coliform and E. coli bacterial counts.

In addition to the compilation of the database, a major purpose of this investigation was to identify additional sampling that should be conducted under the baseline monitoring phase, which will be the second phase of the Corridor Study. Additional sampling may include:

• Some subwatersheds, such as those in the headwaters.

• Emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), human hormones, organic wastewater contaminants, and other constituents that result from human activity.

• E. coli, which can serve as an indicator of health risk to swimmers and other recreational water users.

• Pesticides in all media.

• PCBs.

• Trace elements in water, bed sediment, and tissues (fish, shellfish, and others).

• Samples during winter months or during early snowmelt episodes to address constituents such as chloride and some nutrients that have seasonal variability and that may be affected by factors such as road deicing during the winter.

• Samples for macroinvertebrate and fish-community data and habitat assessments.

• Physical data such as stream-channel cross-section profiles, bridge-scour assessments, flood-plain maps, structures, and shoreline conditions.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Water-resources-related information for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District planning area, Wisconsin, 1970-2002
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
xii, 288 p.
United States
Milwaukee County, Ozaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County
Online Only (Y/N):
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