UPDATE X2: The water boil advisory in South Milwaukee has been lifted after tests confirmed contamination did not occur.
On Sunday equipment failure led to a loss in water pressure in the city. Officials issued a boil water advisory, which has been in effect until now. Over those two days, their water utility sampled the water for bacteria. Now the Department of Natural Resources tells them the tests came back negative, according to a statement from the city on Tuesday.
Residents can now safely use tap water, including to cook food and make infant formula, as they normally would, the city said. Restaurants and businesses can also resume normal operations.
The city asks residents to alert neighbors who may not be aware that the advisory has been lifted.
“We appreciate the patience of our residents during this difficult time and we are thankful for the support of all of the those that responded to this emergency including City employees, the Oak Creek Water Utility, volunteers, Impact 211 for hotline support, Century Springs and Walmart for water,” said Jackie Ove, Public Health Administrator.
INITIAL UPDATE: South Milwaukee officials said during a press briefing on Monday that the Boil Water Advisory issued on Sunday will remain in effect until further notice.
Thousands of people are being impacted, many heading to stores looking for bottled water.
We caught up with Morgan Klogiewski and Lionel Gomez at Walmart, loading up.
"It's really hot and it sucks not having tap water," Klogiewski said. "I was pretty scared I didn't know if I drank some of this water," Gomez added.
Officials said that South Milwaukee Water Utility has restored operations but will need to continue monitoring for issues.
"At this time, we ask that all residents conserve water and boil water prior to consumption. Due to the continued boil water advisory the City of South Milwaukee has arranged for a water distribution for today. The City will be distributing limited amounts of gallons or cases of bottled water per household for free while supplies last," according to a statement.
- June 20, 2022 between the hours of 4:00-7:00 p.m.
- Where: South Milwaukee City Administration Building (City Hall), 2424 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, WI 53172
Restaurants are also feeling the impacts. Some closed early, others are doing what they can to stay open by boiling water and not using tap water to clean countertops.
According to the city, last week's storms caused electrical issues which affected the main pump causing $50,000 as of Monday.
"As these pieces of equipment are being repaired, we are finding additional damage," said Ben Huffman, Superintendent of the South Milwaukee Water Utility.
A drop in water pressure creates a risk of bacteria getting into the system.
So, the water supply is being tested for bacteria that can cause stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea.
South Milwaukee Public Health Administrator Jackie Ove said her office has heard from a handful of people with concerns.
"Impact 211 stood up a hotline for us and we are taking a line list of residents that say they drank the water," Ove said.
For now, residents are asked to continue boiling their water.
ORIGINAL REPORT: A boil water advisory has been issued for the City of South Milwaukee after the water utility plant experience technical difficulties.
According to a news release from the city, storms last week caused electrical issues which affected the main pump at the water plant.
Early Sunday morning, the city received word that residents in the 53172 were experiencing little to no water pressure. A drop in water pressure creates a risk of bacteria getting into the system.
South Milwaukee said officials are working to restore that power and water pressure. However, until then, residents are being asked to conserve water and boil all water prior to consumption.
Even once power is restored, the city said the water system "will need to run clean for 48 hours prior to any use for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, or cooking."
The advisory is until further notice.
"All food establishments and any business that utilizes water for patients/patrons (i.e. restaurants, taverns, food stores, doctors, dentists) within the City of South Milwaukee that process and/or prepare food need to cease and desist all tap water operations (including ice made on the premises) until further notice," the city said in a press release.
Thomas Kasper, owner of Kasper's bar on Madison Ave., said business is just fine so far. He can't use anything with a water line, so his soda guns are out. And he can't wash glasses.
"Well, [we're using] all plastic — shot glasses and cups. All canned soda and canned tonic. Bag ice,"he said.
Keg beer is fine. It doesn't involve a water line. And bottled and canned beer? No problem.
After 33 years, Kasper is retiring at the end of the month. But he'll still visit the bar to drink.
"A place for people to hang out. Cheap prices," he said.
Several restaurants, including two Italian restaurants, are closed until further notice, according to signs on their doors.
Around town, residents said until the all clear is given, it's boiled or bottled. But they're not experiencing too many inconveniences on the first day of the order.