September 19, 2019
By Joe Pieper
Minooka Park deemed best site for pumping station
The city of Waukesha has embarked on one of the largest public works projects in state history to safely transport Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee to Waukesha and return it to the lake. I have served on the Waukesha City Council for 13 years and have worked alongside my colleagues and staff to ensure that our residents and those neighbors that are utility customers have safe drinking water for generations. Our project will also benefit regional aquifers, as well as the streams, lakes and wetlands they connect to.
To do this, though, we need the assistance and cooperation of our neighbors. The city and Water Utility have worked in good faith with our neighbors for years now to determine a pipeline route that respects the environment and neighbors and has the lowest impact on both. This has been our highest priority — but we know we will never make everyone happy.
We need to have storage reservoirs and a pumping station at Minooka Park in New Berlin. We have worked with the county and the city of New Berlin to select a site at the corner of Swartz Road and Racine Avenue. This site has the fewest number of homes within 1,000 feet of the sites we considered. Moreover, it has the low elevation that further reduces the minor sound and visual impacts. No lighting from the site will face the sky or the neighbors. Also, using this site requires the removal of zero trees — a positive environmental impact. This site would not impact any users of the park and would not require the relocation of any park amenities or elements. The county agrees that this is the best site and included this use of it in the comprehensive plan for Minooka Park. This site truly “saves the park” for those that enjoy it today.
The 9-acre site will house water reservoirs and a pumping station that simply boosts the pressure of the water coming from Milwaukee into Waukesha’s system. It is not a well, it is not a treatment facility, it is water reservoirs and a pumping station that will have zero impact on neighbors’ wells. In fact, one of the factors for picking it was the lack of impacts on wetlands or private wells. Moreover, the park has a total of 594 acres — our site has a very small footprint relative to the park.
It will not be noisy — there will be a generator that will need to be tested and run for 30 minutes once a week at a time determined with the city of New Berlin. We have worked in good faith to ensure the construction will not impact popular events in New Berlin. Any roads impacted will be restored at the utility’s expense. Plus, by having the pipeline there it may provide a redundant water supply for the eastern half of New Berlin. We have also offered to provide an additional connection to a fiber optic network that provides internet access for the city of New Berlin governmental entities.
My ask is simple: If you live in New Berlin, encourage your mayor and City Council to trust the science, the research, the experts and the rigorous process we have gone through to make this project a reality. We are good neighbors and we need your help. Thank you.