Wed July 3, 2013
Group Asks For Oversight On Waukesha's Water Plans
A coalition concerned about Waukesha's plan to pipe in drinking water from Lake Michigan wants the Department of Natural Resources to hold public hearings now as well as later.
Under a compact approved five years ago, Waukesha would be the first city outside the Great Lakes basin to get lake water. The city potentially qualifies since it's in a county that straddles the edge of the basin. But Peter McAvoy, a Milwaukee-based attorney with the Great Lakes Compact Implementation Coalition, says Waukesha has made major changes in its application to the DNR since the city first applied two years ago.
McAvoy: “It's changed where it would get the water from, from the city of Milwaukee to Oak Creek, the route on which they would get the water from Lake Michigan would change. How they would bring the water back, and under what circumstances, has also changed.”
McAvoy says treated wastewater would now go to the Root River instead of the Menomonee River. He says rather than wait for hearings after the DNR has made a preliminary decision on the revised application, the time to hear from the public is now.
McAvoy: “Don't drag it out. ... Where there are major gaps in information, or it's not clear or it's not understandable, you would be better served by doing that at the front end than waiting until later and having to do it again.”
The Waukesha water utility could not be reached for comment. The DNR says it's working on a response to the request from the environmental coalition.