March 29, 2022
By Nikki Brahm
Drivers advised to expect construction delays in southeastern Wisconsin
Waukesha — The Great Water Alliance, which will bring Lake Michigan water to the city of Waukesha, has construction in full force this spring, taking place in six different communities.
The project met its 50% completion deadline in February. It will allow a new water supply from Lake Michigan to be piped from Milwaukee Water Works to Waukesha. After use and treatment, the water will be returned to the lake via the Root River.
According to the city, they are required to comply with federal drinking water standards for radium by Sept. 1, 2023.
The Great Water Alliance issued a newsletter on Friday, March 18, notifying the public about the latest construction planned throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
In Waukesha, work is taking place along Sentry Drive at the Clean Water Plant and along Sunset Drive at Les Paul Parkway for the return-flow pipeline; as well as work at East Broadway at Les Paul Parkway for the Booster Pump Station Discharge pipeline and trenches crossings. Work on the booster pump station across from Rempe Drive is also taking place — with large cranes that can be spotted from across the city.
In the area of the city and Village of Waukesha, work for the return flow pipeline is also planned along Les Paul Parkway from S. West Avenue to south of East Sunset Drive. There is also work planned along Moorland Road from Westridge Drive to College Avenue.
In New Berlin, work is planned for the return flow pipeline along Interstate 43 from Racine Court to Martin Road and from Martin Road to east of Calhoun Road.
In Muskego, work is planned for the return flow pipeline along Moorland Road from College Avenue to Janesville Road and along Moorland Road from Janesville Road to Woods Road. There is also work planned along Durham Drive from Schultz Lane to Hawks Trail and along North Cape Road from Boxhorn Drive to Ryan Road.
Work is also planned throughout Franklin, West Allis and Milwaukee.
”While we’re working to keep traffic open at all times, obviously there’s going to be backups,” said Dan Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility.
Both the water supply and return flow pipeline are expected to be completed by the end of 2022, ahead of schedule, Duchniak said. The return flow pump station should also be complete by this summer. The last part of the project includes the Waukesha reservoirs and booster pump station and the Milwaukee booster pump station, expected to be completed in July of 2023.
“Again, we’re pretty excited here that we’re in the second construction season of this project,” Duchniak said. “We knew that it was going to be three construction seasons to finalize everything. We’re excited to be in the beginning of that second season as we get closer and closer.”
More information about the project can be found at www.greatwateralliance.com.
The city recently had an issue with the city’s largest well, Well #10, according to Duchniak, as it was forced to shut down on March 14 due to a pump failure. The well was shut down from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning last week, but residents still had water.
Contractors have been on site assessing the situation and planning repairs, according to a press release from the Waukesha Water Utility.
“We have a temporary backup pump and motor on site, but our contractors must attempt to recover the old equipment first,” Duchniak said in a statement. “We confirmed last week with cameras that the pump and motor, along with 230 feet of column pipe, have fallen to the bottom of this 2,200-foot well. The parts we need to remove weigh more than 11 tons. That work started today.”
The timeline for installing a backup pump and motor is still being determined. Once installed, the well will operate at half capacity until a permanent repair is completed. The repair costs are currently unknown, but an insurance claim will be filed due to the breaking of the support pipe that holds the equipment in the well.
Duchniak said this is not the first time that Well #10’s pump has failed. The city has been actually averaging one failure per year among all of the wells for several years.
Duchniak said the continuing problems help demonstrate the need to switch from the deep aquifer to Lake Michigan water.