The Waukesha Water Utility Commission has selected Greeley and Hansen as the program manager for its switch to a Lake Michigan water supply. The Environmental engineering firm specializes in water and wastewater engineering.

The Commission voted tonight to have Greeley and Hansen proceed with work on the water project. It also directed utility staff to negotiate a final contract with the firm.

Greeley and Hansen will manage the permitting, design and construction of the project, as well as route studies, land and easement acquisitions, public outreach and more. They will also oversee subconsultants.

The firm will establish a local office for the project.

“This is another major milestone on our path to a safe and reliable water supply for our families and employers,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said. Reilly, who is also a member of the utility commission, said the commissioners wanted a management team that is experienced in construction of large projects.

The mayor said the project will cost approximately $206 million and take about five years to design, permit and build. “With a project of this size, we need to make sure we have the best experts available to make sure that the project is done right and the money is spent wisely,” he added.

Greeley and Hansen was selected after the utility issued a request for qualifications in June. The utility then requested proposals from three of the eight firms that submitted qualifications.

One of the subconsultants will be CH2M, which will provide its expertise on permitting, the transition to a new water supply, and public outreach. CH2M had been the lead engineer for Waukesha during the development and review of Waukesha’s application to use and return Great Lakes water.

In June, Waukesha’s application to borrow Lake Michigan water under the Great Lakes Compact was unanimously approved by the eight Great Lakes governors. The approval followed six years of review by regulators in Wisconsin and the other Great Lakes states and provinces.

Waukesha received approval under the Compact to withdraw up to an average of 8.2 million gallons per day of Lake Michigan water, but it will return approximately 100% of that volume back to the Great Lakes after use and high levels of treatment. The amount that will be borrowed and returned is less than 1/1,000,000th of 1% of Great Lakes water.

Waukesha’s current water supply is contaminated with radium, a human carcinogen. Long-term use of its current deep-aquifer water supply is also environmentally unsustainable, due to a layer of shale rock that restricts recharge of the groundwater.

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