Thirty-one individual claims and one class action claim have been filed against Milwaukee in the wake of a water contamination crisis, according to Rudolph Konrad, the city's deputy attorney.

Konrad said the individual claims request damages of between $4 to $50,000, which is the maximum amount the claimants can seek under state law. The class action claim represents 400 claimants, Konrad said.

The claims have been trickling into the city attorney's office since the crisis occurred in April, Konrad said. He said the city does not intend to pay any of the claims because city officials do not believe it is liable for damages.

The contamination by a protozoan called cryptosporidium that resulted in gastrointestinal problems for as many as 350,000 Milwaukee residents forced the city to issue an order to use only boiled water for seven days, beginning on April 7, and to shut down one water purification plant.

The city has been considering capital improvements to its water system as a result of the contamination. Those include the relocation of a water intake system in Lake Michigan, estimated to cost $20 million, and using ozone to treat water at the city's two plants, at an estimated cost of $11 million per plant.

Jeff Bentoff, a spokesman for Mayor John Norquist, has said the city will study those improvements, and that a decision is "months and months away."

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