STS Consultants Supports Wisconsin Electric and Kenosha on Lakefront Redevelopment


Innovative engineering approach key to project success (MILWAUKEE, WI)

STS Consultants, Ltd. completed comprehensive environmental engineering services associated with the lakefront redevelopment in Kenosha, Wisconsin.After the City of Kenosha identified environmental contamination at the site, they contacted Wisconsin Electric, whose predecessor had previously owned the property. STS was subsequently hired to investigate the site and determined that an underground plume of coal tar was moving toward Lake Michigan. STS then designed and installed an innovative system to address the subsurface contamination, while also meeting the City’s aggressive time frame, which allowed the redevelopment project to proceed on schedule.

The final solution utilized an innovative combination of a dual-purpose containment wall and a contingency recovery system. The two-fold objectives of the containment wall were: 1) to form a barrier in the lower portion of a creek to prevent contamination from flowing closer to Lake Michigan; and 2) to allow groundwater in the upper portion of the creek to flow naturally so that certain biological processes would not be adversely affected. This unique approach met the cleanup requirements and also reduced construction concerns associated with the ongoing redevelopment in the area.

Many social and economic benefits are recognized on the redevelopment of contaminated urban properties. For example, as a result of the Lakefront Redevelopment, the City of Kenosha will now be able to generate tax revenues from a previously underutilized property. In addition, Lake Michigan and other local waterways are being protected from environmental contamination. The innovative system also benefited Wisconsin Electric, their stockholders and the ratepayers, since it cost almost 30% less than other traditional methods.

Key to meeting the cleanup goals of this project was overcoming several complex regulatory and technical issues. For example, to demonstrate that the wall would provide sufficient containment in the lower portion and adequate flowage in the upper portion, a variety of mathematical and computer models were performed. In addition, the system had to be designed and installed within a short time-frame so the construction of an on-site facility could begin on schedule. These obstacles were overcome by using a design/build team and a very active communications and feedback program with stakeholders.

STS Consultants, Ltd. is a 400-person engineering consulting firm with five offices in Wisconsin and eleven throughout the Midwest. The firm specializes in providing integrated approaches to engineering design and environmental management in the commercial, industrial, and municipal markets. Since 1948, STS has supplied innovative yet practical solutions to a wide variety of private and public clients throughout the world.