Great Lakes Water Negotiations Moving Forward to Council
Waukesha Common Council will have the first look at a potential Lake Michigan water sales agreement with Oak Creek or Racine during its meeting on Tuesday.
Proposed water contracts between Waukesha and Oak Creek or Racine as Waukesha looks to purchase Lake Michigan water are being reviewed Tuesday night in closed session.
The meeting is being held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
Information about potential agreements will not be released yet because of negotiations. However, the city’s originally preferred supplier, Milwaukee, is still not in the running after the Milwaukee Common Council’s terms to begin negotiations were not in compliance with Waukesha’s future water service area.
The Waukesha Water Commission will also review the negotiations on Tuesday. It is holding a closed session meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The closed sessions are being held because negotiations are ongoing.
The Waukesha Water Utility approached all three Great Lakes communities to negotiate a water sales agreement as it attempts to meet a June 2018 EPA mandate to reduce radium levels in its water supply. The city is also addressing problems with declining water quality and water levels in its groundwater system.
The Waukesha Common Council agreed more than two years ago to apply for Great Lakes water as its primary option to reduce the radium levels. The city needs approvals first from the DNR and the Wisconsin governor. Then the application advances to all the Great Lakes states, which have to also approve the application because Waukesha is located just outside the Great Lakes basin.
The city's application to divert the water from Lake Michigan is currently pending with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Waukesha is looking to pipe water from Lake Michigan; it also plans to return the water to the Great Lakes.
The first of several water rate increases because of the project has already been implemented. The Public Service Commission approved a 27 percent rate increase last month as Waukesha looks to develop a new water source.