Last Thursday, I asked the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission whether the proposed diverted water service area as the Commission had mapped it for Waukesha's diversion application could be altered.
It seemed a reasonable, timely question, as Milwaukee officials want the service territory map made smaller by removing neighboring communities that Waukesha had included - - one, the Town of Waukesha has not yet given its approval for inclusion - - and Waukesha has said SEWRPC had a "process in place" to add or remove municipalities or parcels from the map.
So I posed the question to SEWRPC Executive Director Ken Yunker, and below is the answer he emailed Friday afternoon.
As with so many SEWRPC/Milwaukee/suburban issues, Milwaukee is getting the short straw.
In a nutshell, the answer from SEWRPC is "yes" to whether the map can be changed, and "yes" if the addition or deletion is at the behest of Waukesha or one of its water application suburban clients, but I see no "yes" offered as an option to a selling community, like Milwaukee.
Who knows? Maybe this is a question for legal advisers, municipal attorneys and ultimately the courts? I'm waiting for Yunker to answer a follow-up from me about whether Milwaukee can make such a request, and will go ahead and post what I got back from planning manager Yunker on Friday:
Under State law and draft State rules, this service area is to be delineated by SEWRPC, as the areawide water quality management agency for the seven county Southeastern Wisconsin Region, and submitted by the water utility to the WDNR for approval as part of the water utility’s water supply service area plan.
That plan is to include approvals of the governing body of each city, village, and town within the water supply service area. Thus, it would only be reasonable to conclude that the WDNR, City of Waukesha, and each of the other communities within the Waukesha water supply service area could request that the delineation of the service area be reconsidered.
Further, under State law and draft State rules, the water supply service area plan must be consistent with the areawide water quality management plan, or more specifically, the delineated water supply service area must be consistent with the approved sanitary sewer service area. Therefore, any request to reconsider the planned water supply service area would also entail a similar reconsideration of the planned sanitary sewer service area.
The planned Waukesha sanitary sewer service area includes beyond the City of Waukesha those adjacent developed areas that are served by private onsite wastewater systems. Such inclusion would allow for the provision of the most cost-effective sanitary sewer service if problems arise in the future with failing onsite systems in the future.
Similarly, the planned Waukesha water supply service area includes beyond the City of Waukesha those developed adjacent areas that are served with individual wells. Such inclusion would allow for the provision of the most cost-effective municipal water supply if problems arise with failing individual wells on a significant scale.
Consideration of any change in the water supply service area, and attendant sanitary sewer service area should address the cost-effectiveness of an alternative future sanitary sewer system, including treatment plant, as well as an alternative future water system, and address all requirements in State Administrative rules, including WDNR approval.