MHD-MWW Water Quality Technical Workgroup

A Good Idea


Following a massive Cryptosporidium waterbome outbreak in 1993, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) and Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) formed a technical workgroup to address the myriad of regulatory and public health practice issues inherent in assuring high quality and safe drinking water within the Metropolitan Milwaukee service area. The workgroup comprised a number of key stakeholders in developing protocols for early detection, routine monitoring, risk communication and response to potential water contamination events. The MHD-MWW water quality technical workgroup meets on a monthly basis to review data, evaluate current processes, examine new research and share pertinent information.

Goal / Mission

The overriding goal of the workgroup is to develop, institute and evaluate preventive measures (e.g. procedures, protocols and policies) that would mitigate the impact of any future waterborne disease incidents. Post 9/11, the workgroup has evolved to include discussions on water security in the context of an intentional contamination event.

Results / Accomplishments

Since 1993, the workgroup has developed pathogen specific response protocols, established parameters and thresholds for emergency response, developed utility specific benchmarks for finished water quality, conducted studies of nearby watershed influences to treatment plant source water and responded to numerous treatment plant operational "events" of public health concern. The collaborative framework has been further leveraged in the arena of "drinking water security". The MHD-MWW water quality technical workgroup has initiated dialogue around necessary planning associated with early warning and detection systems and integration of water utility response protocols into the community-wide Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The MHD-MWW collaboration represents a new paradigm in terms of a sustainable and critical partnership enjoining a common goal of assuring safe and potable drinking water within rapidly changing political, environmental and social environs.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Paul Biedrzycki, Manager, Disease Control
(414) 286-5787
Health / Immunizations & Infectious Diseases
Public Safety / Emergency Planning & Response
City of Milwaukee Health Department
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Milwaukee, WI
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