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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Asvisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

Through the process of trying to address its water issue, the City of Waukesha "came to realize that the water supply that we were using was not sustainable for the long-term," mayor Duchniak said. Waukesha was not only faced with high concentrations of a naturally occurring carcinogen in its water supply, but that vital source could not be sustained.

Waukesha draws its water from "the deep aquifer", Duchniak explained that "about 200 feet below the surface there is a thick layer of rock that prevents water from naturally percolating through the ground and recharging the aquifer." The "phenomenon occurs in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois," he added.

The City analysed 14 possible alternative water supplies, both groundwater and surface water, including the Great Lakes. "After completing an environmental impact statement that reviewed all of those alternatives we came to the conclusion that the only reasonable supply for the City of Waukesha was a Great Lakes Alternative," Duchniak underlined.

Waukesha has sought the approval for diverting Great Lakes water from the State of Wisconsin, the State "informed the Regional Body and Compact Council in December 2015, that they had an approvable application," Duchniak said, "and the following six months the Great Lakes States and [Ontario] reviewed the material and holding public meetings." Duchniak said that the process "ultimately lead to an approval on June 21, 2016."

Waukesha will be "returning 100% of the water to the Great Lakes, there will be no impact on lake levels," Duchniak said. Before the water is returned to the lakes, it will be treated in a facility with secondary treatment.

We also contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on the subject. In an email communication, we were informed that "final approval by the state of Wisconsin has not been granted yet." The process to obtain the necessary permits has begun, "the Wisconsin DNR will issue a final diversion approval once all required permits are issued."

The DNR confirmed that "the technical review found that the project is expected to have little to no impact on Lake Michigan water levels and water quality." Any final approval will include conditions outlined by the DNR.

According to the DNR "Lake Michigan is the source, [of drinking water] for approximately 1.6 million Wisconsin residents, [and] there are no specific limits on how much water can be drawn for drinking water." Despite there being no upper limit on how much water can be taken out of the Lake public systems have to have "plans and specifications approved.

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