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.
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.
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
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.
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
Baethke & Son Plumbing
for help in fixing the problem before it gets any worse.