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“It’s created an issue for us:” Water main break floods locker room at Milwaukee Athletic Club

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MILWAUKEE — A water main break last week flooded the women’s locker room at the Milwaukee Athletic Club (MAC) downtown. That break happened just a few feet from a high-profile construction project.

Adam Puzach, Chief Financial Officer of the Milwaukee Athletic Club

“We’re working to clean it up, rebuild, and hopefully it’s a better facility than it was to start with,” said Adam Puzach, Chief Financial Officer of the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

The cleanup is underway in the locker room. It got flooded August 8 when a water main broke on Mason Street. Puzach said it’s a hurdle they really didn’t need since streetcar construction nearby has already hurt business.

“It’s created an issue for us. It’s decreased hotel room bookings. It’s difficult to get people to stay in a construction area,” Puzach said.

With the streetcar work going on just a few feet away, could that construction be responsible for the main break? The city says ‘no.’

In a statement, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman said the break was in an “area outside the streetcar project limits and is not part of the streetcar construction zone.” The statement adds, “our crew was able to repair the water main by early the following morning. The main was repaired overnight so that no events or activities at the club would be affected.”

Puzach said there was an effect — a hotel without water for that night.

“It was a challenge. You have to notify people right away and find accommodations at that time,” Puzach said.


While it has been a frustrating time, Puzach said the club is not blaming the city.

“We’re not here to speculate who’s really at fault here. At the end of the day, there was a water main break and we’ll tend to that as we need to,” Puzach said.

Here’s the complete statement from the Milwaukee DPW on the water main break:

“Late on August 7, 2017, the Milwaukee Water Works control center was notified of water leaking into the basement of the Milwaukee Athletic Club (MAC) at 748 N. Broadway St.  Because there were a number of other main break repairs in progress and a low volume of water was leaking into the MAC basement, a crew was not dispatched to the location until the morning of August 8.  At that time, they conducted an “acoustic leak correlation” to locate any leaks in the distribution system. They were initially unable to find any sound.

“A plumber was called to determine whether there was a leak in the private side of the plumbing and also found no leaks. The plumber mentioned they had a previous issue with a leak that was caused by a hydrant on N. Broadway. This prompted the investigator to listen to all the hydrant and main gates in the vicinity. They did detect the sound of a leaking hydrant on N. Broadway St, but almost immediately thereafter, it was reported that the main in East Mason Street., east of N. Broadway, had broken. The break occurred in a 6” water main that was installed in 1872 that runs under that location. At 145 years of age, it is one of the oldest mains in the Milwaukee Water Works system.

“The main break was 67 feet east of N. Broadway on E. Mason St.  In coordinating with the MAC, our staff was asked to hold the repair until overnight so that no activities or events would have to be canceled.  Our staff honored their request and repaired the main break overnight.  The water main was back in service by 6:00 a.m. the following morning.

“The cause of the main break was corrosion – a hole that required a 12-inch clamp to repair – and not due to streetcar construction.  In addition, the main break location is outside the streetcar project limits.

“It is our understanding the Milwaukee Athletic Club did experience some water in their basement as a result of this main break. We apologize for the inconvenience this water main break caused to them and their membership.”

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