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- Contact information
- For information on this page, contact:
- Shaili Pfeiffer
Water Use Section
Bureau of Drinking and Groundwater
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921
Phone number: 608-267-7630
City of Waukesha Water Diversion Application
February 2013 - The DNR continues its work on the Technical Review and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Once the Technical Review and EIS drafts are complete, the DNR will post the documents to this website and schedule a public comment period and public hearings. The DNR has requested that the City of Waukesha further evaluate issues related to water supply and wastewater discharge. The timeline for the release of the Technical Review and EIS drafts is dependent on completion of this further evaluation.
Comment summary and response
The DNR published a public notice July 12, 2011 declaring the City of Waukesha’s application for Great Lakes water complete, beginning the DNR’s application review process. The first comment period, focusing on the scope of the EIS and the interpretation of the review criteria, closed on August 13, 2011. A comment summary and response from the first round of public hearings is posted below. Please see the “Public Participation” tab for an outline of the process.
The following document summarizes the comments received — both written and oral — through the first public comment period and provides a response to the comments.
During the first comment period, any comments were welcome; however, comments were particularly requested on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the review criteria.
Written comments were accepted until August 13, 2011.
Informational meetings/public hearings were held July 26, 27, and 28, 2011 in Pewaukee, Wauwatosa, and Sturtevant, respectively. The purpose of these meetings was to introduce the City of Waukesha’s application and the Great Lakes Compact review process. The meetings included a presentation, question and answer period, and formal public hearing.
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Factsheet
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Presentation
- City of Waukesha Diversion Application Overview Map
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Display - Overview
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Display - Water Supply
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Display - Wastewater Return
- Informational Meeting/Hearing I Display - Conservation
Additional Comment Periods:
A second public comment period and round of hearings will be scheduled once the DNR has completed its review and has a draft decision and draft EIS.
Overview (all application materials and correspondence with the City of Waukesha follow this overview)
Waukesha’s application asserts that the city needs a new source of water to address water quantity and quality concerns. Waukesha now gets its public water supply from groundwater wells in deep aquifers, where water levels have dropped more than 500 feet and are continuing to decline up to 9 feet every year. The groundwater in the deep aquifer also contains high levels of radium, a carcinogen. Waukesha’s 2010 average day demand was 6.9 million gallons of water per day and peak day demand was 8.7 million gallons of water per day. Waukesha’s wastewater is currently discharged to the Fox River in the Mississippi River Basin.
Waukesha seeks to eventually divert an annual average of 10.9 million gallons of water per day with a maximum day diversion of 18.5 million gallons per day. The water is proposed to serve an area that includes the City of Waukesha and may serve portions of Pewaukee and the towns of Genesee, Waukesha and Delafield.
The application identifies Milwaukee, Racine, and Oak Creek as potential water suppliers, and identifies Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa, the Root River and Lake Michigan as possible locations to discharge its wastewater. Underwood Creek is listed as the preferred alternative. Wastewater in excess of the amount diverted (and all wastewater flow during specified high flow conditions) would continue to be discharged to the Fox River.
Lake Michigan Water Supply Application - May 2010
Supplemental Application Materials – 2012
The City of Waukesha continues to revise other sections of their application, including the water supply service area plan and associated demand projections. Revisions to the application will be posted when received.
- Oak Creek/Waukesha Letter of Intent – November 2012
- Exhibit B of Oak Creek/Waukesha Letter of Intent –November 2012
- Adopted Water Conservation Plan – May 2012
- Memo to Eric Ebersberger, Water Use Section Chief from Brad Eggold concerning "Water return to Root River from City of Waukesha" dated August 8, 2012
- City of Waukesha Water Supply Environmental Report – February 2012
Supplemental Application Materials - April 2011
(received in response to DNR December 2, 2010 letter)
- Waukesha Water Conservation Report Submitted to PSC – 2011
- Response to Return Flow Questions
- Response to Water Supply Questions
- Response to Water Conservation Questions
- Letter from Waukesha Water Utility Manager Dan Duchniak Re: additional Water Conservation Information, dated May 26, 2011
- City of Waukesha Water Supply Attachment RF 18: Relative Comparison of Wildlife, Natural Community, and Endangered Resources Impacts for City of Waukesha Water Supply and Return Flow Alternatives (No link has been provided to this document, because the information is confidential as it contains Natural Heritage Inventory information that identifies the names and locations of rare species)
Appendices to May 2010 Application
- Appendix A Waukesha Water Utility Water Conservation and Protection Plan
- Appendix B Waukesha Water Utility Master Plan(Includes security information, available for on-site review only at the Waukesha Water Utility offices)
- Appendix C Waukesha Water Utility Future Water Supply Study
- Appendix D Water Supply Service Area Plan for the City of Waukesha
- Appendix E Facility Plan Amendment for Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements for Returning Water Withdrawn from Lake Michigan
- Appendix F Sanitary Service Area Reports (SEWRPC Report Link)
- Appendix G Technical Memorandum: Underwood Creek Effluent Return Evaluation, July 23, 2009
- Appendix H Water Quality Model of Proposed Discharge to Underwood Creek
- Appendix I A Regional Water Supply Plan for Southeastern Wisconsin (available at Waukesha Water Utility offices or SEWRPC)
- Appendix J Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update for the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds
- Appendix K Final Draft Technical Memorandum: Summary of Water Requirements
- Appendix L Return Flow Effects on Habitat in Underwood Creek and Menominee River
- Appendix M Cost Estimates Update
- Appendix N Environmental Report
- Appendix O Results of Groundwater Modeling Study Shallow Groundwater Source Fox River & Vernon Marsh Area Waukesha Water Utility
- Appendix P Potential Lake Michigan Water Suppliers Letters of Interest
- Letter to Administrator Johnson from Administrator John Schulze of PSC, dated December 19, 2012
- Letter to Town of Waukesha Chairman Angie Van Scyoc from Administrator Johnson, dated December 13, 2012
- Letter to Mayor Barrett and Alderman Hines from Secretary Cathy Stepp dated August 2, 2012
- Letter to Secretary Cathy Stepp from Mayor Barrett and Alderman Hines dated July 18, 2012
- Letter to Waukesha Utility Manager Dan Duchniak from Administrator Johnson, dated July 18, 2012
- Letter to MMSD Director Kevin Shafer from Administrator Johnson dated May 14, 2012
- Letter to Administrator Johnson from MMSD Director Kevin Shafer dated May 7, 2012
- Letter to Waukesha Utility Manager Dan Duchniak and MMSD Director Kevin Schafer dated April 25, 2012
- Letter to Eric Ebersberger of the DNR from Waukesha Utility Manager Dan Duchniak dated July 29, 2011
- Letter from Waukesha Utility Manger Dan Duchniak Re: additional Water Conservation information, dated June 17, 2011
- Letter to Administrator Johnson April 27th, 2011
- Letter to Water Division Administrator Baker from Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Duchniak dated December 16, 2010
- Letter to Common Council President Ybarra from Water Division Administrator Baker dated December 2, 2010
- Letter to Secretary Frank from City of Waukesha Common Council President Ybarra dated November 16, 2010
- Letter to Waukesha Common Council President Ybarra from Secretary Frank dated September 20, 2010
- City of Waukesha Application for Great Lakes Water Cost Information for Oak Creek and City of Racine Water Supply Alternatives (September 1, 2010)
- Letter to Secretary Frank from Common Council President Ybarra dated July 27, 2010
- Letter to Secretary Frank from Mayor Scrima dated July 2, 2010
- Letter to Mayor Scrima from Secretary Frank dated June 8, 2010
The Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (Compact) became effective on December 8, 2008. The Compact addresses water quantity management in the Great Lakes Basin. The Compact and related legislation implementing the Compact´s provisions in Wisconsin set out requirements for sustainable water use in the Great Lakes Basin. The Compact, codified in Chapter 281 of the Wisconsin Statutes, prohibits diversions of Great Lakes water, with limited exceptions.
One exception to the Compact´s ban on diversions allows a “community within a straddling county” to apply for a diversion of Great Lakes water. A “community within a straddling county” means any incorporated city, town, or the equivalent thereof, that is located outside the basin but wholly within a county that lies partly within the basin. The City of Waukesha qualifies as a community within a straddling county under the Compact.
A proposal for a diversion to a community in a straddling county is not allowed under the Compact unless all of the following apply:
- The water is used solely for public water supply purposes;
- The community is otherwise without an adequate supply of potable water;
- The diversion meets the exception standard [See sections 281.343 (4n)(d) and 281.346 (4)(f) of the Wisconsin Statutes];
- The proposal maximizes the amount of water that originated in the basin that is returned to the basin and minimizes the amount of water that originated outside of the basin that is returned to the basin;
- There is no reasonable water supply alternative in the basin in which the community is located (in Wisconsin, that would be the upper Mississippi River basin), including conservation of existing water supplies;
- The proposal will not endanger the integrity of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem based upon a determination that the proposal will have no significant adverse impact on the Great Lakes basin ecosystem;
- The proposal is consistent with an approved water supply service area plan under section 281.348 of the Wisconsin Statutes that covers the public water supply system;
- The proposal is reviewed by the regional body (the Governors of the eight Great Lakes States and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec, Canada); and
- The proposal is approved by the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council (consisting of the Governors of the eight Great Lakes States) with no disapproving votes.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process
The DNR has determined that it will conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) process for the proposed Waukesha diversion. The Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act or WEPA, and administrative code NR 150, require the DNR to evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives.
The first step of the EIS process involves “scoping” of the evaluation and analysis. The DNR has prepared a Waukesha Project EIS List of Topics to be addressed in the EIS and sought public comments to determine the scope and the significant issues to be analyzed through the EIS process. The DNR has reopened the comment period for comments on the EIS scope until August 13, 2011. Please see the “Current Status” tab for details.
The “scoping” stage is the first step in the EIS process. After a draft EIS is completed and published, there will be a 45-day public comment period and a public hearing. The comment period will be followed by the release of a final EIS and 30-day public comment period.
EIS scoping comments received as of May 2010
Public participation is critical to the review of any diversion application. There will be many opportunities and formats to participate in reviewing Waukesha’s diversion application. If you would like to receive notice that information on this page has been updated, please sign up with GovDelivery.
Review process for the Waukesha diversion application
The DNR published a public notice declaring the City of Waukesha’s application for Great Lakes water complete.
The following steps outline the review process for the application including the opportunities for the public, Wisconsin tribes, and state and federal agencies to participate in reviewing Waukesha’s diversion application. This process may be modified as needed and will be updated accordingly.
Step 1: Consultation/Informational Meeting/Public Hearings
(Meetings held on July 26, 27, and 28, please see “Current Status” tab for specifics.)
- DNR consults with the American Indian Tribes and Bands located in Wisconsin.
- DNR holds public informational meeting/public hearing:
- To introduce the review process.
- To receive comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scope and the interpretation of the statutory review criteria.
- Includes 30-day public comment period.
Step 2: DNR prepares draft technical review, draft decision, and draft EIS <-- WE ARE HERE
- The DNR reviews the application and public comments.
- The DNR prepares the draft technical review and EIS, and makes a preliminary decision on whether the application is approvable. (The technical review is a thorough analysis and evaluation conducted to determine whether the proposal meets the statutory criteria for approval.)
Step 3: Consultation/Informational Meeting/Public Hearings II
- DNR consults with the American Indian Tribes and Bands located in Wisconsin.
- DNR requests comments on EIS from state and federal agencies.
- DNR holds concurrent public hearings on the draft technical review, EIS, and preliminary decision and provides a 45-day public comment period.
Step 4: DNR finalizes the technical review and EIS
- DNR reviews the public comments, and finalizes the technical review and EIS.
- A 30-day public comment period is provided on the final EIS.
- DNR determines if the application is approvable.
If DNR determines application is approvable the application must be forwarded to the Regional Body and Compact Council made up of the Great Lakes States and Provinces. The Regional Body (States and Provinces) will first issue a declaration of findings. Subsequently the Compact Council (States) must approve the application for it to move forward.
Step 5: Regional Body and Compact Council Review
- The Regional Body and Compact Council hold an informational hearing in Waukesha.
- Upon completion of its review, the Regional Body will issue a declaration of findings to the Compact Council. (The Regional Body has a goal to review applications in 90 days.)
- The Compact Council will then consider Waukesha’s application in light of the Regional Body’s findings. (The Compact Council will endeavor to approve or deny the application within 60 days of receipt of the Regional Body’s findings.)
- Opportunities for dispute resolution under the Great Lakes Compact.
If the Compact Council approves the Waukesha diversion application, the application is returned to the DNR for a final decision.
Step 6: DNR Final Decision
- DNR conducts the necessary permit reviews (examples - WPDES, Chap. 30, etc.) and issues decisions on the permits.
- DNR issues a final decision on the application.
- Opportunities for dispute resolution in the State of Wisconsin.
The applicable state statutes include:
- The Great Lakes Basin, which includes both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior watersheds, dissects Wisconsin. The Mississippi River watershed covers most of Wisconsin´s landmass.
- The City of Waukesha is located within the Straddling County of Waukesha but lies outside of the Lake Michigan watershed.