JUST THE facts
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO
The history leading up to the Great Water Alliance stretches all the way back to the Paleozoic Era. But don’t worry…we’ll give you the edited version!
SEE HOW WE GOT HERE…AND WHERE WE’RE GOING
Use this interactive timeline to view important milestones along the path to bringing better water to the city of Waukesha and the Great Lakes Basin.
1976The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes interim regulations that establish a 5 picocuries* per liter (pCi/L) limit for radium in public drinking water systems.
* A picocurie (pCi) is one-trillionth of a curie. The curie (Ci) is a measurement of radioactivity.
Late 1980sWaukesha Water Utility (WWU) works to develop a strategy to deal with the long-term impacts of the new radium standards after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) issues two violations of EPA’s radium standard of 5 pCi/L.
Late 1990sWWU sampling shows declining groundwater levels are leading to higher concentrations of total dissolved solids and radium.
December 2000EPA issues the final radonuclides rule retaining the 1976 standards for radium at 5pCi/L.
March 2002Waukesha studies 14 alternative to identify a sustainable water supply. Those options are narrowed to two, given water quality and environmental or regulatory restrictions: 1) Groundwater Well Supply 2) Great Lakes Water Supply.
December 2003City of Waukesha enters into a consent order with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and Waukesha County Circuit Court to achieve phased-in compliance with new radium standards.
December 2005Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) – in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the DNR, and several area water utilities – completes a groundwater simulation model for the region.
December 2008Congress adopts the Great Lakes Compact and President George W. Bush signs it into law, following adoption by the eight Great Lakes states and prior approval by two Canadian provinces.
April 2010After years of study and scores of public meetings, the City of Waukesha submits five-volume application for alternative water supply to the DNR for review. In it, Lake Michigan water is determined to be the only sustainable source that protects both the environment and public health.
December 2010SEWRPC adopts a Regional Water Supply Plan that includes the recommendation that Waukesha apply for Great Lakes water.
July 2011DNR consults with Native American Tribes and holds informational meetings with the general public to introduce the review process and receive comments on scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
October 2013Waukesha revises its Application request to 10.1 million gallons a day (MGD) and identifies Oak Creek as preferred water supplier; changes return flow route to Root River.
Fall 2013WWU holds informational meetings in Oak Creek, Racine, Milwaukee and Waukesha. DNR accepts public comments on the revised application.
2013 - 2015Waukesha submits 27 additional technical memoranda to the DNR in order to provide additional information and clarification.
January 2016DNR concurs that Waukesha’s proposal meets the Compact’s criteria and submits application to the Great Lakes states and provinces for regional review.
June 2016Eight Great Lakes states, meeting as the Compact Council, unanimously approve the Waukesha Application, with conditions that include a smaller service area.
February 2017Years before required by the terms of approval, Great Water Alliance partners with UW-Parkside and the United States Geological Survey to begin scientific data collection on the Root River.
March 2017New water supply program officially begins operating as the Great Water Alliance and unveils a robust new website at greatwateralliance.com.
2022-23Projected completion and transition to new water supply. In all, Great Water Alliance will require about six years of permitting, design and construction before coming into service.
OUR PACT WITH SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN BEGAN WITH THE GREAT LAKES COMPACT
As the first community to prove it qualifies for an exception under the Compact’s straddling counties provision, we’re keenly aware of our obligation not only to our neighbors in the area, but to the entire Great Lakes Basin.
We invite you to learn more about this historic document, and how the standards we’ll be living up to will lead to a brighter water future.
PAYING DIVIDENDS THAT EXTEND BEYOND GREAT WATER
The Great Water Alliance will ultimately benefit the citizens of Waukesha for generations to come. But the size and scope of this program will also generate economic, social and environmental benefits for the entire region…beginning today.