Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Town of Waukesha water expert advises them to stay within city of Waukesha service area

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Town of Waukesha Chairman-elect John Marek sent out the following email:

John Marek

This letter is from the Town of Waukesha’s Water Consultant, Bruce Baker. Mr Baker was retained approximately two years ago, to advise the Town on water issues, and is highly respected.

The Town, including Chairwoman VanScyoc has relied on his opinion and advice since his engagement.

I am sending this out, as I feel it is important for every resident to see the opinion of the consultant, on who’s advice we have relied for the last two years. We have paid Mr Baker many thousands of dollars for his advice, and followed it, up to now.

 In the letter, Mr Baker clearly advises that the town should be in the water and sewer service area.

The current Town Board should take immediate action, follow the advice of our own consultant, and reverse the decision on reducing the water service area.

(What follows is the letter from Bruce Baker)

I have been asked to provide my personal opinion regarding the sewer and water supply service area delineation for the Town of Waukesha. As you know my role to this point in time has been to provide the Board information regarding service area delineation and specifics regarding the request for Lake Michigan Water by the City of Waukesha. I have also attempted to represent the viewpoint of the Board in communications with DNR and the City of Waukesha. As you are aware, I did not participate in the final decision-making of the Board or in negotiations with the City involving conditions of a service area agreement.

My experience regarding sewer and water service areas goes back to the creation of the state regulations that govern the delineation of Wisconsin service areas. The reason for state regulation of service area delineation is to provide a cost-effective and environmentally sound approach to providing sewage and drinking water service.town of waukesha

Service area decisions are long-term decisions and should not be based just upon current circumstances but also upon cost effective public health protection for the life of the water infrastructure. Considerations should include the population and commercial growth of an area in addition to the environmental or geophysical characteristics. For example, what is the potential for future water quality issues associated with the surrounding area. Also, you want to consider what will be the least cost solution for providing future water service.

It is particularly important to recognize the Town of Waukasha is located in a highly urbanized area of the state and that there are historical water quality problems. In my experience urbanized areas have the greatest potential for and need for centralized wastewater and drinking water supply. That is why the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has been designated to do the sewer service and water supply designations.They are able take into account the highly urbanized realities and the complexities of providing water service in southeastern Wisconsin. Southeastern Wisconsin has had to deal with problems including inadequate water supply, contamination of drinking water sources, and failing septic tanks. Expanding populations in this area are going to exacerbate these problems.

The opportunity for obtaining approval for Lake Michigan water to provide drinking water for this area will not happen again in the near future, if ever. It is important to future public health that the decision consider what could happen in this geographic area in the long-term. You should consider both sewage treatment and drinking water because the service area will be the same for both. Even if drinking water can continue to be provided by private wells there may be a need for sewer service to solve water contamination or failing septic tanks.

So considering what is in the best interest for the Town of Waukesha for future wastewater and water supply, I believe that the service area should include the entire township. Even though there are areas of the town that currently may not be cost- effectively served by a central water or sewer system that may change over the life of the water systems. No one can accurately predict future water quality problems but there is a great potential for water quality problems in this area based upon population densities and historical water issues.

Bruce Baker

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