Riverwest residents use Port-A-Johns during sewer upgrade

CREATED Sep 11, 2013

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MILWAUKEE – A sewer upgrade in the Riverwest neighborhood is proving to be noisy and inconvenient.

Residents are told to use their home sewers "sparingly" this week.  Most have stopped flushing, rinsing and washing altogether.

The 3200 block of N. Humboldt Avenue is lined with Port-A-Johns provided by a contractor.  There are six portable toilets and two hand washing stations.

It is primitive and unusual for city dwellers.

“I don’t like it,” resident Barry Lewis told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.  “I can’t take a shower in my house.”

Some residents are staying in hotels.

A printed notice from contractor Visu-Sewer alerts residents that their "sewer lateral will be temporarily disconnected from the main sewer." Homeowners and renters are told to "use your toilet only if absolutely necessary and discontinue further use of all water including; washing machines, dish washers, bath tubs, showers and sinks."

“Slightly inconvenient, but given the alternative of tearing up the entire street and laying down brand new mains, this is just so simple,” said longtime resident Jay Sottile.

Sottile tied caution tape ribbons around his faucets, showers and toilets as a reminder not to put anything down the drain.  He even set up a makeshift tent shower in his backyard.

The contractor is repairing large, aging pipes, said City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works spokesperson Sandy Rusch Walton. She said engineers were “unavailable” to speak on camera about the project.

Visu-Sewer will be done on this block no later than Friday, the printed notice says.

The same contractor is scheduled to do upgrades with similar inconvenience in other areas this month.  Next week, they are set to work on E. Auer Avenue between Gordon Place and the Milwaukee River.  They are expected to work on Humboldt between Townsend & Concordia the week of September 23.