On November 30, a small group of select municipal officials and members of the press attended a groundbreaking at the corner of West Oklahoma Avenue and South 76th Street in Milwaukee, where a new pumping station will be built. The purpose of the event was to draw media and public attention to the start of construction.
From that Milwaukee location, a 13-mile water supply pipeline will be constructed through West Allis, Greenfield and New Berlin to Waukesha. A 23-mile return flow line will begin at the Clean Water Plant in Waukesha and be built through New Berlin and Muskego, before ending at a new outfall facility in Franklin. Construction will occur in phases along with pipeline routes and be completed in 2023.
The project will bring drinking water to the Waukesha Water Utility from the Milwaukee Water Works, then return treated water back to the Root River, a Lake Michigan tributary. In keeping with its approval under the Great Lakes Compact, Waukesha will return back to the Great Lakes Basin approximately the same volume of water that it takes out.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the agreement they signed in 2017 shows how regional cooperation can be mutually beneficial. Receiving treated water from the Milwaukee Water Works will save the Waukesha Water Utility money compared to other suppliers, and the project will provide Milwaukee with a new source of revenue from Waukesha.
Milwaukee Water Works Superintendent Karen Dettmer explained that although the pipeline construction is starting now in Waukesha, building the pumping station in Milwaukee will not begin until later in 2021. She added that the new station will replace an existing location just a block away.
Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak assured communities and residents along the pipeline routes “that our team is committed to minimizing the impacts of construction on the public. We will keep them well-informed of when we will be working in their neighborhoods and what they can expect during construction.”
“I would recommend going to our website: greatwateralliance.com. You can look at an interactive route map, sign up for our newsletter, and find out what’s going on In Your Area. We are also holding virtual open houses to keep people along the route informed. Effective communication with the public will be key to this project’s success.”