The state Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings later this summer on a request from Waukesha to tap into Lake Michigan for drinking water.
The move follows the release of a preliminary report this week that indicates the city’s applications meets “key technical requirements,” and could win the necessary approval for its request from all the other Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces. Waukesha is trying to become the first city located outside the lakes’ natural basins to be able to tap in to its water supply.
The DNR has set three public hearings for mid-August. They will be on August 17 at Carroll University in Waukesha, and also on August 18 on the UW-Milwaukee campus and the Racine Masonic Temple. The DNR has also opened a longer than usual 60 day public comment period, due to the heavy interest in the request.
Waukesha is under a court order to eliminate radium from its drinking water by 2018, and the DNR has said Waukesha has no real alternatives close by. If it takes Lake Michigan water, it must put an equal amount back in the form of clean wastewater, which would be discharged to the Root River in Franklin.