Shepherd Express: Environmental Coalition Says Waukesha Doesn’t Need Lake Michigan Water

Environmental Coalition says Waukesha Doesn't Need Lake Michigan Water, Shepherd Express, July 14, 2015
Author: Lisa Kaiser

Environmental groups are pushing back on the City of Waukesha’s claims that it must pipe in Lake Michigan water to solve its long-simmering radium problem.

Waukesha faces a 2018 deadline to reduce the amount of naturally occurring radium in its drinking water supply pumped from its deep aquifer. To do so, it wants to bring in Lake Michigan water, even though Waukesha is outside of the Great Lakes Basin, and it’s asking for enough water to serve a handful of neighboring communities—the towns of Waukesha, Genesee, Delafield and Pewaukee—as well as the City of Waukesha.

Waukesha would like to purchase water from Oak Creek, have it piped through Franklin, then build out a pipeline to Waukesha. The treated wastewater would be returned to the basin via the Root River, which flows into Lake Michigan.

The diversion of water outside of the basin is allowed under the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement finalized in 2008 by the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces to ensure the wise management of water regionally. Since Waukesha County straddles both basins, communities within it, such as the city of Waukesha, can apply for a diversion if they lack a reasonable in-basin water supply.

Waukesha’s application for Lake Michigan water would be the first of its kind under the compact.

Read the complete article here.