Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wauwatosa Speakers Rip Waukesha Wastewater Discharge Plan For Underwood Creek

Residents of Wauwatosa ripped Waukesha's plan to save money on the return flow portion of its Great Lakes water supply plan by dumping treated wastewater into Underwood Creek rather than through discharge piping to Lake Michigan, according to Jim Price at Wauwatosa Patch:

Ald. Dennis McBride of Wauwatosa's 4th District [said] forcefully that Waukesha was only trying to save money at anyone else's expense and that Wauwatosa could not afford even the merest threat of more flooding.
"Just to the east of here was a historic neighborhood that was wiped out by back-to-back 100-year floods," McBride said. "And it hasn't stopped. I hear all the time from my constituents, 'My basement is flooding,' the fears of more flooding.
"No one that I know has said to me, 'Please, Alderman McBride, please send more water down our creek, into our river.'
Their concerns are not new - - the DNR has indicated that the entire return flow issue is a weighty one - - and the Wauwatosans concerns immediately bring to mind two relevant items:

* What a Racine-area state legislator said when Waukesha was thinking of discharging its wastewater down the Root River, in his district:
"We're not Waukesha's toilet." State Rep. Cory Mason, (D-Racine) in The Journal Times, 2/3/08
* Whether Waukesha's intention to send some wastewater during heavy rain as something of a safety valve down the Fox River and thus away from Underwood Creek and down the Fox River, to the Mississippi River and ultimately to the Gulf of Mexico - - but therefore also away from the Great Lakes basin - - will be permitted under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact.

Waukesha believes it will be returning enough water, including what infiltrates underground into its piping, via the Underwood return flow connection to satisfy the demands of the Compact  - - but it isn't clear whether the Compact's mandate for returning diverted water from Lake Michigan can be met by essentially blending in some water from outside the Great Lakes basin.

And since this application is the precedent-setter for all eight Great Lakes states, and each must assent to the diversion, giving Waukesha permission to permanently send some Great Lakes water out of its basin during heavy rains to prevent Underwood Creek flooding, it's not clear if that passes muster or meets the Compact's underlying water management goal.

So, you say: Waukesha has problems with importing diverted water from Lake Michigan to a greatly expanded Waukesha-managed service territory (including, perhaps, the Town of Waukesha, Genesee and part of Pewaukee) - - and also has political and compliance issues with returning most but not all of it via the Creek?

Not to mention the myriad problems posed by finding a willing lakefront city seller, probably and preferably Milwaukee?

Right: It's complicated, contradictory and filled with pitfalls. The word "problematic" comes to mind.

Which is one reason among many that this application is troubled, troubled, troubled.


Paul Trotter said...

So I guess the bizzaro Mayor of Waukesha was the least of their troubles. Guess they'll have to think their toilet style.

Anonymous said...

The mayor of Waukesha is quite wise, Paul. He's been saying all along that the application's passage is unlikely and Waukesha must keep all options open. The application is DOA.
After calling the President fiscally irresponsible, let's see how much pork is placed into this pig by the supposed fiscal conservatives.

Wastewater Treatment Training said...

I think I'm already late in this story. Is there any other discharge plan for the underwood creek? A lot of people can be in danger if they continued this one.

James Rowen said...

To WWT: Waukesha's preferred discharge point is in the Creek in Brookfield, thus the flow is through Wauwatosa into the Menonomee River to the Lake.