Monday, November 12, 2012

Waukesha Plugging Away On Diversion Plan, Though...

About six months ago - - and even before fresh setbacks added more delay - -  the plan seemed dead in the water, reported the Journal Sentinel's Don Behm on May 19, 2012:

Waukesha - Time appears to have run out on Waukesha's landmark effort to obtain Lake Michigan water by a court-imposed deadline of June 2018 to provide residents with radium-safe drinking water.
June of next year is a "drop-dead" date, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak says, to have in place all of the pieces the city needs - approval from Wisconsin and seven other Great Lakes states, a water purchase deal from Milwaukee or another city and a host of pipeline construction contracts - in order to have lake water flowing to Waukesha by the summer of 2018. Five years are needed to build the new system, he said.
If all of those hurdles are not cleared and work started by June 2013, Waukesha will have no choice but to select a different and more costly strategy for providing safe drinking water to its residents, Duchniak said, vowing an aggressive push for its lake water plan.
"We're optimistic we'll have a decision by next summer," Duchniak said.
The setbacks since June have been a) the discussions that never took place as Waukesha had hoped for a lower-cost water purchase deal with Milwaukee, and b) the negotiations that stalled to nail down a more costly connection with Oak Creek.

And c) there is growing awareness that Waukesha wants to be able to divert Lake Michigan water to an expanded service territory beyond the city's boundaries.

Even if the Oak Creek-as-potential-diversion-supplier piece falls into place as scheduled on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, it seems impossible that all of Waukesha's remaining dominos: the Wisconsin DNR's approval; green lights by the other seven Great Lakes states, and signed piping and pumping contracting to construct a $183 million diversion system - - all litigation-free - - could be lined up to avoid Waukesha's self-declared "drop dead" date of June, 2013.

Consider, for example, that the DNR has yet to complete its environmental review of the diversion scheme and the application's water return-flow routing - - complicated and potentially controversial key steps that would need to be taken to the public for hearings before the application would be forwarded to the other states for their reviews.

Remember that a "no" vote by just one of the eight Great Lakes states' governors vetoes the application.

June, 2013?

Get ready for a more local Plan "B," and a battle over aquifer access and water supplies in Waukesha County - - an intra-county controversy issue followed frequently on this blog since early 2007.

And as late as last month.


Anonymous said...

Please remember that it doesn't even have to be a "no" vote.

A state simply needs to put the Waukesha diversion request on the back burner for a few months and the issue will just go away.

Bill McClenahan said...

Regarding the service area: A water supplier is PROHIBITED from limiting water supply service to the city’s boundaries, as you have suggested. S. 281.348(3)(e), Stats.

A water supply service area must also be consistent with the sewer service area, which makes sense from a planning perspective. S. 281.348(3)(d), Stats.

Both laws were created by the 2008 act that adopted the Compact in Wisconsin.

James Rowen said...

As to the validity of the water service territory - - Perhaps Waukesha, and or/SEWRPC which recommended the expanded service territory should have held a hearing or carried out contemporaneous and timely disclosure about the content and creation of the proposed service territory map - - as it was drafted by non-elected officials and included portions of the City of Pewaukee and the Towns of Delafield, Genesee and Waukeaha without their consent.

water wars said...

Hey - why not without their consent? Me thinks Waukesha could sell it to them down the road?

Seriously - Waukesha is playing a flawed political game here - you would think the Republicons would have learned their lessons from the last election.

Anonymous said...

Bill, let us also bear in mind that the expanded service area includes communities without a demonstrated necessity for Lake Michigan water due to public health reasons from a contaminated water supply.

And quite frankly, Waukesha could install radium filters on the remaining deep confined aquifer wells and be in complete compliance with the court mandate deadline of 2018.

Economically speaking, the filtering option is millions less and has a minimal impact on monthly water bills.

Once Waukesha has complied with the court order, the water utility is under no mandate to seek supplemental sources such as riparian wells on the Fox River or filling the quarry s and adding a pumping/filtration system.

The utility commission unfortunately has group think mentality on combining the two distinctly separable issues.

Anony Too said...

First the issue was about complying with the radium standard. The Utility Commission thought they could get away with sneaking a 22-24 mgd amount needed into their application and no one would notice. When people did notice, they lowered the request to 18 mgd and began talking about how bad the deep water aquifer was and how fast the level was dropping and . . . suddenly, they wanted to help the deep aquifer to recover (newly minted environmentalists!). Now they tell us it's not only quality (meet the radium standard) but quantity, too.(must have MORE water than we think we're ever gonna need!)

Honestly, who can keep up? McClenahan's spinning so fast I'm surprised he hasn't drilled himself a new well by now. He spun past Truth several geological layers ago.

Boxer said...

Bill is quite concerned about abiding by the law . . . . selectively. When it comes to meeting the all other alternatives must be exhausted BEFORE outside the basin diversion, that is actually IN THE COMPACT, not so much.

You can just leave that "reasonable" coin in your lawyer-pocket, Bill. It's got 2 sides to it.