Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District

Jun 13, 2019
Matthew T. Magruder

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million people in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee area. We serve 411 square miles that covers all, or segments of, six watersheds. Established by state law, the District is governed by 11 commissioners with taxing authority. 

Besides our core responsibilities, we are also responsible for: water quality research, household hazardous waste and medicine collection, green infrastructure, Greenseams® land acquisition, sustainability, planning, engineering, laboratory services, and industrial waste monitoring. 


What new technologies have you been evaluating or implementing?

These aren’t really “new” technologies per se, but MMSD is piloting BioP-related technologies (e.g., Starburst mixers and Flygt mixers). We are also exploring other opportunities in digestion such as: linear motion mixers, digester gas treatment equipment, and conversion of digester gas to renewable natural gas. MMSD has also recently done some evaluation of ammonia control, DO control, and fluid bed solids drying. To highlight a few projects in the research portfolio:

MMSD Facility

MMSD has also conducted extensive experimentation on Pyrolysis with Marquette University. We are now doing process optimization using Milorganite® Class A biosolids as a feedstock in a continuous pilot-scale reactor. 

MMSD is also partnering with Veolia North America and Opti to study the performance, operation, and maintenance of green infrastructure. The study aims to develop decision-making tools by providing the District and Operations staff with real-time monitoring and performance information about large portfolios of green infrastructure installations.

MMSD is collaborating with the United States Geological Survey on a Great Lakes Protection Fund Grant that aims to develop a hand-held, real-time, optical sensor that will locate and accelerate repair of human sewage contamination sources in streams and storm sewers. 


What technologies are you interested in investigating?

In addition to what is listed above, MMSD is interested in nitrogen and phosphorus removal/recovery, odor control, and hydroelectric energy production solutions. Furthermore, MMSD would like to better understand alternatives for beneficial reuse for chaff (fines generated in the production of Milorganite®, Class A biosolid).


What are your facility drivers/needs?

The biggest drivers for our organization are the 2035 Vision for the organization, WPDES permit requirements, the MMSD’s facilities plan, and disposal restrictions. The vision for MMSD has two key elements: 1) Integrated Watershed Management and

2) Climate Change Mitigation/Adaption with an emphasis on Energy Efficiency. Our 2035 Vision: MMSD envisions a healthier Milwaukee region and a cleaner Lake Michigan accomplished through its leadership in attaining zero overflows, zero basement backups, and improved stormwater management. MMSD will be a model in its management of climate change impacts on weather and its focus on energy-efficient and sustainable operations. The greatest needs for MMSD are cost-effective solutions that reduce energy consumption, increase throughput at our reclamation facilities, and create sustainable operations.


How has LIFT helped, or how would you like LIFT to help your facility?

LIFT provides the opportunity to see what others in the industry are doing. A specific example is our recent participation in the LIFT: Getting Involved 101 Seminar on Biosolids to Energy Projects. From that webinar, MMSD has learned what Metro Vancouver is planning on doing with Hydrothermal Processing at their Annacis Island Plant facility. 

Optimizing processes to eliminate waste and become energy independent are the biggest areas that we see LIFT being able to help our agency.


If there were one technology you would pilot or collaborate on tomorrow, what would it be?

We would like to explore hydroelectric energy production opportunities in wastewater along with the ability to utilize thermal energy in the influent.


Matthew T. Magruder
Environmental Research Manager