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Dairy Supply Imbalance Leading to Fresh Milk Dumps into Milwaukee Sewer System

July 7, 2023
Milwaukee wastewater officials confirm that truckloads of fresh milk have been dumped consistently in recent weeks.

Milwaukee wastewater officials have confirmed to local news outlets that truckloads of fresh milk have been dumped into the sewage systems in recent weeks, as supply outruns demand and storage capabilities in the dairy marketplace.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) officials confirmed that the milk from dairy farms was treated by a waste disposal services company, then sent through MMSD’s system for additional treatment before the water is discharged into Lake Michigan.

Dairy industry experts say the industry is off-balance, and the milk that is being dumped simply has nowhere else to go. Demand for fluid milk has been lower, and those experts told the local news outlets that a lack of cold storage facilities in Wisconsin also has contributed to the oversupply issue.

An MMSD spokesperson told local news outlets that he didn’t know the exact amount of milk that had been dumped, but could say that it had declined to about five truckloads a week — at 6,000 to 7,000 gallons per trailer.

The recent milk dumps bring back harsh memories of dairies having to dump milk down the drain at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the supply-demand balance was last thrown off this badly.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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