Jan 30, 2010

Water Wars in SE Wisconsin - Cheap is over

Waukesha runs out of cheap water options
"Bottom line is we're looking at dollars to solve the problem in the magnitude of $160, $170, $180 million," Warren said. "This will be, by far, the largest capital project in the city of  Waukesha's history."

After studying 14 alternatives for more than seven years and narrowing the ideas down to the three-best options, the Lake Michigan option emerged as the cheapest, said Daniel Warren, president of the water utility commission.

"Big dollars, there's no question about it," Warren told the Waukesha Common Council on Thursday night. "There is no inexpensive solution to the issue. That's what these numbers are showing us, and we have to come to grips with that reality."

"We should not be buying water from any community on the Great Lakes that will have political demands," said Alderman Emanuele Vitale, "or conditions to the sale of water."

One of the reasons the city needs a new water source is because the supply does not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for radium content. Alderman Paul Furrer said that, instead of searching for a new source, the city should pressure the EPA to change its standards.

The city already tried that route in the 1990s, said city Attorney Curt Meitz, when it sued the EPA over its radium standards and lost. The agency is not going to change its rules, he said. Read more at dailyreporter.com