Does Waukesha Really Need Lake Michigan Water? July 9, 2015
Author: Lisa Kaiser
Years in the making, the city of Waukesha is poised to submit its request for the Lake Michigan water under the Great Lakes Compact.
Waukesha, a city in a “straddling” county that encompasses both the Great Lakes basin and the Mississippi River basin, would make history with its request because it’s the first of its kind under the compact.
The city is under pressure to find enough drinkable, radium-free water for its residents by 2018, the deadline that’s been set by the U.S. EPA to find a solution. Waukesha says its only alternative is to tap into Lake Michigan.
The state DNR has given its preliminary OK to Waukesha’s application, but it will hold three public comment hearings before making its final determination. If the DNR approves it, the application will go to the governors of the Great Lakes states, which will vote on it. It needs a unanimous vote from all eight governors for it to be implemented.
Waukesha claims that it must pipe in water from Lake Michigan, via Oak Creek, to its residents. It’ll send its treated wastewater back to the Lake Michigan basin via the Root River.
But does Waukesha really need to stick a straw into Lake Michigan to acquire radium-free water?
Not according to a new analysis sponsored by the Compact Implementation Coalition (CIC), which says that if Waukesha treated the water by using reverse osmosis in some of its wells, it could get rid of its radium problem.