Study pegs annual economic impact of MMSD at $218 million

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has an annual economic impact of $218.3 million on the metro Milwaukee area, according to a study by the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership.

“The economic impacts of MMSD are significant, based on operational and capital expenditures, employment and wages and salaries,” said Milwaukee 7 Economic Research Director Bret Mayborne.

MMSD provides sewage treatment, water course improvements and flood management services to 28 municipalities within the metro Milwaukee area. MMSD services about 1.1 million people in a 411 square mile area.

The MMSD has been criticized by some for the amount of public money spent to build the Deep Tunnel System and for sewerage overflows during heavy rain storms.

Nevertheless, MMSD provides a number of important tangible and intangible economic impacts to the area, according to the Milwaukee 7 study. MMSD, funded by property tax payers, directly supports 456 jobs with estimated wages and salaries of $28.8 million. Applying a standard multiplier effect, the total annual direct and indirect impact of MMSD to the metro Milwaukee economy is $218.3 million with 1,368 jobs supported, generating $57.2 million in annual wages and salaries. The multipliers, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, account for dollars that are re-spent and re-circulated through the local economy.

“As this study indicates, MMSD not only provides a vital service in our area, they are also a major employer, providing high-quality jobs in the water and energy industries,” said Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Among the $77.9 million in total contracts let by MMSD, 19 percent went to small, women or minority-owned businesses, according to the Milwaukee 7 report.

Other impacts of MMSD include the organization’s efforts to protect and restore natural habitats as a means to avoid flooding, including green roofs and porous pavement.

“The sustainable water strategies promoted by MMSD are key to Milwaukee’s growing role as a world water hub,” Sheehy said.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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