Published September 7, 2017
By Hannah Weikel
WAUKESHA — More than 100 city residents and water utility customers poured into the Waukesha Rotary Building Wednesday night to get updated information about the Great Lakes water diversion plan and have their water questions answered.
The Great Water Alliance held an open house complete with poster boards and pamphlets providing information from pipeline sizes and routes to radium standards and water quality.
The event was supposed to start at 5:30 p.m., but people started showing up at 4:45 p.m. and kept coming until the event ended at 7:30 p.m. Mayor Shawn Reilly and District 4 Alderman Joe Pieper were at the event and answering questions about the city’s role.
I’ve been following the project for a while and I’m really happy … I was wondering about the health impacts of the radium and other contaminants in the water.”
— Christopher Waul, 42
“We’re retired. We are on a fixed income … If this price of water goes up too high, Waukesha is going to be a ghost town.”
— Ernie Pancer, 73
“I’m very concerned about letting the city of Milwaukee sell Waukesha water. I would never want them to have their hand on the valve.”
— Tom Puddicombe, 68
“I can’t imagine they will go crazy. I know there are a lot of people saying the rates could
triple, but I don’t think that will happen.”
— Audrey Demeter, 33
“I’m glad they had this event. It really answered my questions. I’m glad everybody’s not hostile. It’s a hot issue because everybody knows water rates are going to increase.”
— Don Lamb, 72
“We just moved to Waukesha a month ago and I have two young kids. My concern is the quality of the water. We have a radium detector in the house, but I wanted to know what it will be like moving forward.”
— Divya Khanna, 35
(Photos by Hannah Weikel/ Freeman Staff)
There were a few big questions that couldn’t be answered Wednesday night, though, about costs to ratepayers and what city the water supply will come from.
The utility has narrowed route paths to five options; three coming from Oak Creek and two from Milwaukee. Earlier this summer, the utility sent letters to every homeowner along the three Oak Creek routes and the water return flow route.
Open houses were held in Muskego, Franklin and New Berlin to discuss the possible route options through those communities.
A Great Water Alliance representative said no letters have been sent to homes along the two proposed Milwaukee routes.
Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak has said the utility hasn’t made a recommendation between Milwaukee and Oak Creek water to the Common Council, but expects to pass that hurdle within a month.
More than 100 people came to the Waukesha Rotary Building Wednesday night to have their burning questions about water answered by the water utility. (Hannah Weikel/ Freeman Staff)