The world has been enduring a pandemic that has everyone stepping back, assessing their surroundings and prioritizing what is important to their lives. While some industries have been shut down completely, others have limited operations while others are working at full capacity. Count the Great Water Alliance among those who are managing within the confines of the pandemic and moving this historic water project forward.

On March 10, the cities of Waukesha and New Berlin officially agreed to work together to move Waukesha’s water supply program forward. As part of the agreement, the proposed booster pumping station (BPS) will not be built in Minooka Park in New Berlin, as initially intended, and will instead be located in Waukesha. With this agreement, the project can move forward on schedule, which is critical to bringing sustainable water to Waukesha in an affordable way.

The original site for the BPS was in New Berlin because most of the pipeline that needed access to Lake Michigan water is actually outside of Waukesha. The Minooka Park location had been recommended by Waukesha County and approved by the Public Service Commission, but New Berlin denied the Conditional Use Permit necessary to construct the facilities at the site.

Waukesha was committed to keeping the program moving, especially given a court-ordered deadline to be in full compliance with federal radium requirements for drinking water by 2023. So, while the permit denial was being challenged in court, Waukesha also investigated alternative sites for the BPS. Fortunately, a former Nike missile launch site was identified. The site, located on Waukesha’s east-central side, near Broadway and Highway 164, was not previously available.

New Berlin has agreed to contribute $2 million towards the move of the BPS to the new location as part of the settlement. With the agreement signed, Waukesha has been working diligently finalizing the design to prepare the new site for construction.

The new location will use a portion of federal land that was given to the city for a planned city park. However, utilizing the funds originally allocated for purchasing the land in Minooka Park, Waukesha has agreed to purchase some land adjacent to the Nike missile launch site that will be used to double the size of the planned park to 35 acres. We will be in touch with neighborhood residents very soon to discuss the details of this project.

Open communication is critically important to the success of this construction. Neighbors, businesses, places of worship and others along the pipeline route and near the new site will receive information about what this change means to them as we move forward with the project. Our goal is to ensure that everyone who may be affected by construction is well-informed, even in these times of social distancing.