A New River Skimmer?
[excerpted from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
A bigger and more maneuverable boat is needed to remove all of the trash, tree branches and other debris floating on Milwaukee's rivers and harbor near the downtown, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials said Monday.
The 23-year-old River Skimmer is no longer cost effective to repair and it should be replaced with a new $387,200 model, MMSD water quality protection manager Peter Topczewski said. Repairs needed to keep the aging workboat in service cost $25,000 a year, he said.
The next generation skimmer is 10 feet longer, with double the debris handling capacity, and it will be more fuel efficient, Topczewski said. It would be purchased along with a longer conveyor needed to extend beyond dock walls so that debris can be unloaded from the boat for disposal at numerous locations, rather than one Jones Island site.
Boat and conveyor would be purchased from the Aquarius Systems division of D & D Products Inc. of North Prairie, under a proposed contract.
The district's commission will act on the request at its May 16 meeting. A majority of the commission's Policy, Finance and Personnel Committee recommended approving the purchase at its meeting Monday.
The skimmer operates several days each week from mid-April to mid-November, removing plastic bottles, cups, bags and other floating debris, including dead fish and tree trunks. It cruises the inner harbor, the Milwaukee River upstream to the Humboldt Ave. bridge, the Menomonee River upstream to S. 13th St., the Burnham Shipping Canal off the Menomonee, and the Kinnickinnic River upstream to Lincoln Ave.
In 2010, the skimmer removed 1,683 cubic yards of debris, plus 38 floating tree trunks, from the waterways, Topczewski said.