Waukesha has made major revisions in its request for Lake Michigan water, so the Dept. of Natural Resources should conduct new hearings, according to several environmental interests.
Waukesha needs a new drinking source within a few years, because its underground wells are shrinking while their concentration of cancer-causing radium is increasing.
Initially, the utility planned to purchase lake water via the City of Milwaukee's system, but after several issues became contentious, switched preference to Oak Creek. The route by which Waukesha would return treated wastewater to Lake Michigan would also change. The water would be poured into a river reaching the lake south of Milwaukee - no longer through the Menomonee River that crosses Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Democratic Assemblyman Jon Richards has joined in the call for the DNR to hold new public hearings on Waukesha's revised plan, and he wants at least one held in the City of Milwaukee.
According to Richards, “Waukesha’s proposal to divert drinking water from Lake Michigan is the first serious test of the Great Lakes Compact...and especially the people of Milwaukee deserve ample opportunity to have their say on such a major decision.”
Because of the Compact, Waukesha will need approval of all states and Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes, in order to divert water out of its basin.
The first agency to review the utility's application is the DNR.