And, by the way, where's that DNR hearing on the issue that should be scheduled in Milwaukee? Also: environmental and conservation groups have weighed in to help guide the DNR's review.
August 12, 2011
DNR Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater
PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
Submitted by e-mail to DNR
Dear Ms. McConnell:
SUBJECT: Comments of City of Waukesha Diversion Application
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments regarding the City of Waukesha Diversion Application.
Regarding the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the review criteria, the City of Milwaukee offers the following comments:
In the July 12, 2011 “Waukesha Water Diversion Projects EIS List of Topics”, there are 14 characteristics that are to be considered with respect to the diversion. This list begins with “Surface water resources (including Lake Michigan)” and ends with “Geographically scarce resources”. It is essential that EACH aspect of the proposed diversion (the source water alternatives, the groundwater source alternatives, water conservation measures, wastewater treatment measures, wastewater discharge alternatives, supply pipeline route alternatives, wastewater return pipeline route alternatives) be evaluated against EACH of the 14 characteristics.
The issue of return flow is significant. Wisconsin Act 227  is clear that the place which the water is returned to the Great Lakes basin must be as close as practicable to the place at which the water is withdrawn, unless that would not be cost effective, environmentally sound, or in the best interest of public health.
To date, there has been no DNR hearing within the City of Milwaukee to offer information or hear City of Milwaukee resident concerns regarding the return flow option offered by the City of Waukesha. This must occur.
The DNR must take in account and document the rationale and impacts of the Underwood Creek/Menomonee River return flow option on impacted communities and must expect that each of the impacted communities shall submit a formal resolution approving the return flow option.
The DNR must carefully weigh and thoroughly explain the “close as practicable” standard for the City of Waukesha’s preferred return flow option as it [the standard] applies to each of the three potential “sellers”: Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Racine. Clearly, should Racine or Oak Creek be selected as the vendor, there may be return flow costs, environmental impacts and associated liabilities [flooding, sewerage, private/public property damage] that will have to be accounted for so that the communities and residents on, and impacted by, the return flow will be financially protected.
Finally, and it is imperative that the impacts of return flow to both the Lake Michigan watershed AND the Fox River watershed be considered. Wisconsin’s statutory criteria regarding wastewater return flow must be strictly adhered to. These impacts must be considered for each of the ecological segments along the return flow route: Underwood Creek, the Menomonee River, Milwaukee Harbor and Lake Michigan.
Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Compact Law [2007 Wisconsin Act 227] states:
“The diversion will be in compliance with all applicable local, state and federal laws and Interstate and international agreements, including the boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, [emphasis added].”
The DNR must review and reference all applicable City of Milwaukee ordinances and resolutions as well as all the applicable ordinances and resolutions of all other impacted communities, including those communities within the proposed service area and along the preferred flow route.
Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Carrie Lewis, Superintendent
Milwaukee Water Works