Questions Again Raised About Waukesha's Water Diversion Plan
The Business Journal summarizes the issues, a timely story since Waukesha is holding the first of four informational meetings on the subject tonight:
A coalition of environmental groups argue Waukesha’s application to use Lake Michigan water does not pass the standards needed to gain approval under the Great Lakes Compact.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reviewing Waukesha’s application to buy Lake Michigan water to replace its current system of underground wells. A series of public hearings are scheduled over the next two weeks, starting with a Thursday night meeting at the Carroll University Center for Graduate Studies in Waukesha...
The coalition on Wednesday repeated several concerns it has raised about Waukesha’s plan over several years, arguing the city’s water utility did not adequately vet alternative sources and must improve efforts to conserve water. It also raised concerns about Waukesha’s proposal to return treated water to Lake Michigan via the Root River, which flows through Franklin and Racine.
Waukesha Water Utility general manager Dan Duchniak said the current water application meets the standards of the Great Lakes Compact. It is up to the DNR to decide the issue, he said.And the application says Waukesha plans to send water beyond its city limits, including into towns which did not seek a diversion, raising the specter that diverted water is intended to spur growth, not conservation. A point I have raised for years:
The weakest link in the application - - and what will raise questions all the way from the Town of Waukesha to the City of Milwaukee, and with reviewers and regulators in all the eight Great Lakes states, is Waukesha's plan to send Lake Michigan water into parts of Pewaukee, Genesee and the Town of Waukesha.
Expanding the current service territory land mass by 80%.Canadians, with an advisory role to play in Great Lakes diversions, have their own questions:
Thunder Bay's Hobbs, who is also the chair of a US-Canadian regional Mayor's group, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, is raising questions about Waukesha's application and specifically about Waukesha's intention to send water beyond its city limits.
Cheryl Nenn, with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, said “Our Coalition has worked with Waukesha for years and offered constructive suggestions on their application again and again, yet the revised application fails to meet some of the basic requirements of the Great Lakes Compact.”More from WUWM-FM.
Significantly less emphasis on the radium issue as a public health concern.
NO mention of the 2018 timeline and construction table for completion.
Dan Duchniak spent the lions share of his presentation on the service area with emphasis on SEWRPC drawing the boundries. Clearly a significant concern of the water utility.
No reference to projections of when Waukesha will experience water quality issues with the deep aquifer, assuming filters for radium are installed on the 3 remaining active deep aquifer wells.
One big flaw jumped out at me in this presentation that's been consistant. Act 1 is the presentation slide that shows all Waukesha's water is drawn from wells, and eventually leaves the treatment plant where it ends up in the Mississippi River via the Fox River. Not true. An undetermined portion serves as a recharge to the Vernon Marsh as surface water recharge for shallow aquifers.
Not much new. A lot of recycled presentations.
No mention of the negative EI to the Vernon Marsh with a return flow to Lake Michigan. Emphasis was placed on 4000 acres of wetlands that would be impacted by the proposal to add riparian wells along the Fox. Doing the math, there will be less dependence on the deep aquifer (which allows for recovery) and greater draw on shallow aguifers which would have an impact on 4000 acres of wetlands. vs Cessation of the total volume of ground water removed from deep aquifer (the majority of Waueksa's current water supply) and shallow wells now sent to the same wetlands.
They want their cake and eat it too.
Wis GOP are working to pass legislation taking authority away from the DNR to regulate high capacity water wells. There is much opposition to this change due to high capacity wells significantly lowering the water table. Waukesha wants Lake Michigan water due to its aquifer dropping so low that what is left is unusable for drinking water. Over development caused the problem. The GOP legislation would open many more high capacity water wells essentially causing over development of water resources across broad areas of Wisconsin. Do Wisconsin GOP legislators not see how overuse of water resources ends up with inadequate water resources to meet long-term needs? What is the GOP problem? Myopia? Selective amnesia? Greed? All of the above?
All of the above, and one more: they don't care about the impact to citizens - after all, "Wisconsin is open: for business"
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