Thursday, January 28, 2010

Waukesha Consultant Touts Waukesha Water Plan

No surprise here: a consultant hired by the Waukesha Water Utility finds a plan by the Waukesha Water Utility to send wastewater to Lake Michigan via Underwood Creek poses no environmental threat to Underwood Creek.

A different utility-paid consultant had earlier found that the Creek could absorb the daily volume discharged without negative consequences.

These recent consultant reports are part of the run-up to tonight's formal release of Waukesha's plan to pipe in Lake Michigan water - - up to around 12 million gallons a day - - and send it back as treated wastewater through the Creek in Wauwatosa.

The Creek connects to the Menomonee River, thus to Lake Michigan.

As I have pointed out before, Waukesha is spending heavily on legal, scientific, public relations and lobbying consultants to support its Lake Michigan water planning.

More from the Waiukesha City Hall meeting beginning at 7 p.m. tonight where the draft diversion plan will be released.

Environmental organizations statewide have asked Waukesha officials for more detailed information - - summarized in a news release out today - - and the DNR is expected to initiate a formal Environmental Impact Statement review of the plan to comply with statutes and to independently determine if the plan passes muster.

All eight Great lakes states must approve the plan before water can be piped to Waukesha, a city outside the Great Lakes basin.

Diversion approvals are to be rare under the Compact, so Waukesha has to make a case for need and applicability that goes far beyond the findings of its consultants.

Waukesha water ratepayers will absorb the plan's estimated $78 million construction cost and annual operating expenses of more than $5 million.


Jim Bouman said...

The $56 Million is the cost to get the water out of the lake and on its way to Land O' Sprawl. They also need to spend $22 million to pipe the partially treated sewage back to the planned dumping point in Wauwatosa's Underwood Creek.

The cost of running the pumps to move all that water will be almost $6 million/yr.

With Waukesha's real estate build-out in the tank, probably permanently, the full cost of getting the new source of water will fall principally on existing rate-payers.

They will, of course, need to borrow the $78 million. The Waukesha mayor and City Council will be asked to float bonds to finance the construction. Bonds are going cheap these days. In a few months, or perhaps a year, it could be radically different--when the US Government boosts rates to attract funds to finance deficits once China finally stops buying. When treasury bond rates go up, everyone else's borrowing costs rise in tandem.

Waukesha School Board President, Daniel Warren, borrowed(and now has pretty much lost) mega millions of dollars in toxic "can't miss" investments over at the Waukesha School District. He just happens to be the same guy who is president of the Waukesha Water Utility, the mastermind behind this Lake Michigan water scheme.

If Warren and the School Board people manage to duck the consequences of their bad investment, it is still likely that Waukesha's credit rating will be damaged.

The costs will be monumental.

James Rowen said...

Thanks, Jim. I forgot the return flow estimate, so have included that. I fully expect these numbers to grow, and the DNR and others demanding a tighter accounting or fuller review will get the blame.

Ron said...

No matter how many studies are done and what the results of these studies show, enviromental groups will complain because they want only Milwaukee's untreated waste water return to the lake. Treated water might improve water quality and they couldn't endorse that.