Published 2:22 p.m. CT June 30, 2017 | Updated 2:22 p.m. CT June 30, 2017
By Jane Ford-Stewart, jane.ford@jrn.com

Except for part of a farm field that would be needed for the project, the three potential routes for the pipeline that will take waste water from the city of Waukesha will need little private property easements, officials say.

That’s part of what was revealed in a series of meetings in late June tied to the city’s plan to divert water from Lake Michigan as a long-term sustainable solution to its radium drinking supply problem.

With a wastewater return pipe and possibly the fresh water pipe planned to go through New Berlin and Muskego, the city of Waukesha and its pipeline consultant held a public input meeting Wednesday, June 28, at Muskego High School, and Thursday, June 29, at the New Berlin Public Library. A similar meeting was held in Franklin on June 27.

As part of the Great Lakes Compact, Waukesha has received permission to pipe Lake Michigan water to its residents, who have been living with a city water supply that’s above the federal standard for the amount of radium, a cancer causing agent.

Under the agreement approved in 2016 and reaffirmed earlier this year, the city, so as not to affect lake levels, is required to also pipe the same 8.2 million gallons per day back of treated waste water.


The three potential routes for the return pipeline were explained and questions answered in the Muskego and New Berlin meetings.

One of the three routes or a combination of routes will be chosen by fall, said Daniel Duchniak, general manager of the Waukesha Water Utility.

Route A would enter New Berlin’s western city limits at Racine Avenue, taking that south to Observatory Road. It would go east on Observatory to Calhoun Road, where it would turn south to the farm field and swing east, going under Interstate 43. Then, in a route that bypasses the industrial park, it would link up with Moorland Road. Then the pipeline would head south on Moorland, then Durham Drive and then North Cape Road, turning east on Ryan Road.

Route B also would enter New Berlin at Racine Avenue, taking that south all the way to I43. There, it would turn northeast, following I43,linking up with the same route bypassing the industrial park that route A would take. Then the route would be the same as route A.

Route C would bypass New Berlin entirely. It also would have the least affect on Muskego’s roads, said Muskego Alderman Neil Borgman, who was among officials also reviewing the three options.

That route would enter Muskego at Crowbar Drive, taking that south to Tans Drive, where the pipeline would turn east to Racine Avenue. The pipe would head south on Racine to the undeveloped We Energies corridor that it would take east all the way to Durham Drive. The final leg would go south on Durham Drive and then on North Cape Road. An agreement would be needed to use the We Energies corridor.


Designers are unclear whether the pipeline taking water into Waukesha will go along the same route as the return pipeline. If they are together, the disruption will be greater.

There is likely room for one pipeline alongside the roads for most of the routes, but if there are two pipes, one will probably have to go under the road, said Tom Wilson, pipeline specialist with Greeley & Hansen Chicago based engineering firm.

However, Duchniak said, “The goal will be to have the least amount of disruption.”

Designers will know more about whether the pipe leading to Waukesha will take essentially the same route as the wastewater pipe leading away from it when it decides this summer where the water will come from, Wilson said.

Waukesha has a letter of intent from Oak Creek to buy water from its filtration plant, Duchniak said. However, it got an unsolicited proposal from the Milwaukee Water Works that is now being examined, he said.

The Milwaukee and Oak Creek filtration plants are far apart, meaning the pipeline route to Waukesha would be far different, depending on whether the water is coming from Milwaukee or Oak Creek, Wilson said. The Waukesha Common Council will decide this summer where it will get the water, Duchniak said.


Once a route is selected, other measures would have to be taken to complete the plan.

The farm field that might be needed is in Route A and lies in New Berlin just north of Interstate 43 and west of Moorland Road. The pipeline would need tocut across the field directly east from Calhoun Road and under I43 to eventually link up with Moorland Road.

An agreement will be needed with the farm owner, Wilson said. However, failure to reach a voluntary agreement would not stop the project, he said.

Although it’s early in the game, designers know that Tans Drive, needed in Route C that bypasses New Berlin, doesn’t have much right of way, so more

will likely have to be purchased, Wilson said. Other possible tight spots include Durham and North Cape, which are in all three routes, he said.

The pipeline to Waukesha will be 36 inches across. The return pipe will be 30 inches, Wilson said.



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