Waukesha has taken another big step toward getting its drinking water from Lake Michigan, to replace its own wells that are contaminated with radium. On Monday, a 40 year deal was announced in which Waukesha will hook up to Milwaukee’s water system.
Waukesha had long worked with Oak Creek, which was originally the only city along Lake Michigan willing to sell drinking water. However, officials say the Milwaukee deal is cheaper, and will save Waukesha residents about $200 a year on their water bills once the system gets going in five or six years.
The courts have ordered Waukesha to remove radium from its dwindling water wells, and the city responded by becoming the first city outside the Great Lakes’ natural basin to obtain drinking water as part of the Great Lakes water protection agreement passed almost a decade ago.