Thursday, November 14, 2013

'Waukesha's Toilet,' Racine, Gets Details Of Waste Water Discharge Plan Tonight

The City of Waukesha will hold a meeting tonight in Racine about its plan to move millions of gallons of Waukesha waste water via the Root River daily through Racine despite State Rep. Cory Mason's long-standing objection to his city becoming "Waukesha's toilet."

State Rep. Cory Mason, (D-Racine) - - a member of the Legislature's influential Joint Finance Committee - - has on more than one occasion opposed Waukesha's proposed Lake Michigan diversion plan because it wants to use the Root River through Racine and that city's harbor as the Waukesha waste water return flow route:
'Racine Is Not Waukesha's toilet," Mason has said.
Or 'Not in our River,' Racine has reiterated.
Among Racine's concerns: adding millions of gallons of waste water daily to a river with known flooding problems.
Waukesha has deflected or dismissed Racine's concerns; potential pollution and flooding issues were aired in a Journal Sentinel piece yesterday:
Wastewater must meet stringent pollution controls before it could be discharged to a lake tributary so Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak says using the river to return the flow to the lake will boost water quality in the stream.

But pouring treated wastewater into the river will further degrade the already impaired river in violation of the federal Clean Water Act, according to state Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and several environmental groups...
Racine Mayor John Dickert said he is "utterly disappointed" that Waukesha has not committed to long-term monitoring of Root River water quality to gauge how its discharge would impact the stream.

Monitoring likely will be done, Duchniak said. He expects the state Department of Natural Resources to require regular tests of water quality in the river as part of a discharge permit.
The informational meeting in Racine - - not a public hearing, though comments will be collected - - will be run by Waukesha officials beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Gateway Technical College Racine Campus Conference Center, in the Great Lakes Room 116, 1001 S. Main St., Racine

Another meeting - - the fourth in the region - - will be held in downtown Milwaukee Monday, Nov. 18, at the Zilber School of Public Health, the Triplex Rooms 109, 119 and 129, at 1240 N. 10th St.


Bill McClenahan said...

Waukesha will not violate the Clean Water Act. But it will improve the Root River.

According to the Journal Sentinel:

"[A] state regulator gave a different interpretation of the Clean Water Act. The law prohibits a new or increased discharge to an impaired water body only if the discharge contains pollutants that would contribute to the impairment or cause a new one, said Eric Ebersberger, the DNR's water use section chief.

"'In general, Wisconsin does not allow a new discharge to an impaired water unless the new discharger can demonstrate that the discharge will meet water quality standards,' he said."

Waukesha’s discharge will have LOWER levels of phosphorus, which will improve the stream, not worsen it. And it will comply with all DNR and EPA permit requirements to protect water quality in the river and Lake Michigan.

Waukesha’s treatment plant is among the best in the state and its discharge is cleaner than other dischargers to the Root River. And cleaner than Racine’s.

The Root will also benefit from return flow water because the river needs additional flow for its fishery.

94% of the 503 municipal treatment plants in the state discharge to rivers. Downstream communities are very well protected by water quality standards.

This is not waste going into the river. It is clean, treated water that will improve the river and help the local fishing economy.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the "informational meeting" format has become quite popular with politicians these days, especially when the topic means bad news for citizens. Public hearings are the best way to disseminate information in a consistent way, and to allow citizens to have their questions answered in an open forum. Informational meetings are just another form of "divide and conquer".

Anonymous said...

"Monitoring likely will be done, Duchniak said. He expects the state Department of Natural Resources to require regular tests of water quality in the river as part of a discharge permit."

When? Before the approval, or after?

Are you going to eat the salmon bred in a stream of phamaceutical waste?

Let say monitoring shows degradation of water quality and increase bacteria loading which ends up in Lake Michigan. Is Waukesha going to violate the compact and send water back down the Fox or blow another huge wad of everyone's money as a utility customer?

Anyone who believes this project is $200 million including inflation for a turn key complete system is a dumb ass.

Anonymous said...

"A DNR fisheries biologist confirmed the need for a larger base flow in the river. In September and early October, low water prevented coho salmon from swimming up the river to the department's salmon and steelhead egg collection facility during the fall spawning run, said Brad Eggold, southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor.

Such low flows would be eliminated with Waukesha's discharge"

The DNR could also pipe Lake Michigan water upstream of the hatchery and artificially inflate the river level for 2 months out of the year without adding Waukesha's effluent. The Waukesha option has a greater negative environmental impact. Not to mention the reduced flow to the Vernon Marsh and the drop in surface waters.

Not Part of the Spin Cycle said...

If Waukesha's treated wastewater is so clean, so lovely, swimmable and drinkable, Bill, why doesn't the Water Utility save its customers a lot of time and money by recycling the treated wastewater back to supply its system, thus becoming the truly sustainable solution you so readily claim the diversion to be? Or are you too worried about the lack of benefits which in a diversion would be "gifted" to the Root and Racine?

The saying goes that you can't have it both ways. It seems like you people are trying to have it every which way and then say how lucky we are to have you figuring out what we need and giving it to us. Well, lots of people see right through your little charade of pretending to care about the environment ("we're environmentalists, too" and "I care about the Great Lakes as much as anyone."--Duchniak. REALLY????? Puh-leeeeze!); public health or Waukesha's water utility customers. You've handed the public a steaming pile of wastewater solids, calling it rose petals. No one believes you but yourselves and other lackeys on the payroll.

Not Part of the Spin Cycle said...

@ Anonymous, November 14, 2013 at 3:49 PM:

Agree with you about the "informational meeting" format Not only well suited for "divide and conquer" but divide and dilute, divide and silence.