John Baethke & Son Plumbing
John Baethke & Son Plumbing
3511 N Cicero Ave
ChicagoIL 60641
 (773) 276-5430

Lake Michigan to the Rescue: How it Saved Waukesha

Lake Michigan to the Rescue: How it Saved Waukesha

Throughout the years, The Great Lakes have gone through several challenges in regards to accessible, clean water. Lake Michigan, in particular, has dealt with layers of bacteria-filled algae resulting in the death of beach animals, such as gulls. However, Lake Michigan is now in a position where they are able to assist the close town of Waukesha, Wisconsin, with their water supply. The problem afoot is that a compact was sign in 2008 that doesn’t allow the diversion of water from the Great Lakes in areas outside of the Watershed, which is where Waukesha falls. In recent news, the small town was given access to Lake Michigan’s drinking water. This is the first town since the compact was signed to allow diversion of water outside of the watershed.

Waukesha’s Initial Problem

The reason for Waukesha reaching out to use the water from Lake Michigan is due to their own contaminated water from the radioactive element of Radium. The water in this town exceeds the normal limits set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The solution to this crisis is to either borrow water from Lake Michigan, or spend $200 million to create shallow wells that will need to be replaced in 15-30 years. The city officials in the town are thinking of the situation for long term solutions, not a temporary fix.

The Plan

Due to Waukesha being outside of the Great Lakes Watershed, it has to be approved by eight governors in the surrounding states. The plan in place is to run the additional water to the Oak Creek Pump Station, which is within the Watershed, and build more pipes from the Station to Waukesha. However, the town will plan on returning the water that is borrowed. The water will be treated within their state-of-the-art treatment facility, sent down the Root River and will flow back into Lake Michigan.

Due to Waukesha being outside of the Great Lakes Watershed, it has to be approved by eight governors in the surrounding states. The plan in place is to run the additional water to the Oak Creek Pump Station, which is within the Watershed, and build more pipes from the Station to Waukesha.

Concerns

Some environmentalists have voiced concerns about Waukesha siphoning water from Lake Michigan, but the main concern was the level of the lake decreasing. But, because the plan is to return 100 percent of the water back to lake (which is more than the compact states to be returned), the levels should not decrease from the usage. The other concern is that the treatment facility will add pollution to both the Root River and Lake Michigan. However, Waukesha claims that water that has been run through their treatment facility is 95 percent cleaner than other treatment plants that are also discharging their water into Lake Michigan.

The Solution

In June 2016, after a unanimous vote from all eight governors of the surrounding states, Waukesha was permitted to divert water from Lake Michigan into their own town. After a huge effort and creating a proposal to present to the compact board, Waukesha is now receiving clean water for its community.

A water crisis is an issue that people shouldn’t have to be concerned about. If you suspect water quality issues within your home, contact the professionals at John Baethke & Son Plumbing for help in fixing the problem before it gets any worse.