August 27, 2021
By Nikki Brahm
Latest step underway to bring new water supply to city
Waukesha — Government officials and business leaders gathered Thursday afternoon for a groundbreaking at the Waukesha booster pumping station site Thursday, which is part of the Great Water Alliance project that will bring Lake Michigan water to the city.
The project will allow for 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.
Speakers at the groundbreaking event Thursday afternoon included Dan Duchniak, Waukesha Water Utility general manager; Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly; Joe Piatt, Water Utility Commission president; Suzanne Kelley, Waukesha County Business Alliance president; and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow.
Waukesha aldermen, utility workers, developers, city officials and others arrived to watch the groundbreaking Thursday. They gathered at the booster pumping station site located along East Broadway Avenue across from Rempe Drive in Waukesha. The booster pumping station was originally proposed to be located in New Berlin, but after a lawsuit was dismissed and both municipalities agreed upon terms, the station was relocated to its current site.
Duchniak said construction is fully underway on the two pipelines that are part of the project, which cover a total of 36 miles. Work is officially underway at the booster pump station site – the final one of the six construction packages, he said.
“Twelve to 15 construction crews are currently at work on the pipelines,” he said. “We have completed 13 of the 36 miles of pipelines. In addition, another three crews have just begun work preparing for the booster pumping station at this site.”
The project, he said, is on track to be completed by their court-ordered deadline of September 2023.
Reilly thanked everyone involved with the project Thursday, including community leaders, city officials, state and federal lawmakers, business community allies, Waukesha Water Utility employees and more.
Reilly outlined the decades of effort it took to find the “right water supply solution.”
“Every city needs a safe and reliable drinking water to survive and thrive,” he said. “But in Waukesha, our deep aquifer water supply is severely drawn down due to generations of regional use and a layer of shale that restricts recharge of the groundwater by rain and snow. As you know, our water supply also is contaminated with naturally occurring radium.”
Piatt said the water project will have environmental benefits in the region, including stopping Waukesha’s contribution to the regional drawdown of the deep aquifer; no longer drawing water that is contaminated with radium out of the ground, which leads to the release of radium into the environment; and returning the same volume of water they receive from Lake Michigan back to the basin.
On the Web
To view a segment of the press conference at the groundbreaking for the booster pumping station, visit https://bit.ly/3B7rdH4.