Residents, river group threaten to sue Glendale over curb and gutters

July 6, 2011

Glendale - A group of residents and Milwaukee Riverkeeper think Glendale's plan to install concrete curb and gutter on Alberta Court is a violation of the federal Clean Water Act and they have put the city on notice that they intend to sue if the plan moves along.

The city has already started work on the larger Alberta Court rehabilitation project, which includes the repair of the sewer, installation of new water mains and additional storm sewer drains, re-pitching the road, new driveway approaches and the installation of concrete curb and gutter.

Half of the 12 residents on the cul de sac oppose the curb and gutter, preferring the grass-lined ditches currently in front of their homes.

Mike McCabe said aesthetically most residents on the cul de sac and in the Clovernook subdivision feel that curb and gutter are a minus.

"We like the rural look of the grass swales," he said.

Karen Schapiro, the executive director of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, said the installation of curb and gutter and new concrete driveway approaches will increase the city's discharge of E-coli bacteria to the Milwaukee River.

"This is a violation of the Clear Water Act," she said. "Twenty-first century thinking is that green infrastructure is good in helping slow down water and keeping the pollutants out of the river."

The group is prepared to go to state court for an injunction that would prevent the city from spending taxpayer funds for the project, she said.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski said the city investigated the conditions on Alberta Court after the flooding in July 2010 and found sewers that needed repair, an undersized and inadequate storm sewer and pavement that pitched in such a way that water flowed into residents yards, rather than away.

"It wasn't on the city's radar until the flood, but we adjusted our capital projects to take care of it this summer," he said.

McCabe said the residents don't object to all the upgrades, just the change to curb and gutter, on both aesthetic and clean water grounds.

"MMSD is spending millions to reduce pollutants in the Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic rivers and here Glendale is putting them in the river," he said.

Maslowski said the Common Council will discuss the notice with its attorneys in a closed session at Monday's council meeting.

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