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New Information Confirms Great Lakes Water Unnecessary for Waukesha PDF Print E-mail
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 12:45

milwaukeeUpdated report reaffirms sustainable alternative for ample, clean drinking water now and into the future using a combination of shallow and deep groundwater wells for Waukesha.

WAUKESHA, WI  – New information confirms the City of Waukesha is able to sustainably provide its residents with ample, clean drinking water now and into the future using a combination of shallow and deep groundwater wells. Waukesha is the first to apply for Great Lakes water under a narrowly defined exception to the ban on diversions in the Great Lakes Compact, which was signed into federal law in 2008.

Last summer, the Compact Implementation Coalition (CIC), a group of local, state and regional environmental organizations, submitted a detailed analysis to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) outlining how Waukesha could meet its current and future water needs without taking water from Lake Michigan. The WDNR considered the Non-Diversion Solution (NDS) and asked the City of Waukesha to complete additional analysis regarding the sustainability of the deep groundwater aquifer.

"It was good to know the WDNR reviewed the Non-Diversion Solution, but it does not seem that they did so in earnest. Our intent in preparing the Non-Diversion Solution, was to provide the WDNR and the City of Waukesha with a foundation to begin a genuine analysis of its reasonable water supply alternatives which we do not believe they have done,” said Jennifer Bolger Breceda from Milwaukee Riverkeeper.  “Now, we're relying on the Regional Body and Compact Council to take a more comprehensive look at the Non-Diversion Solution and the viable alternatives Waukesha has."

The new report, written by GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., provides new information on the cost and sustainability of treatment options, which directly answer the questions the WDNR asked regarding the initial analysis. This new information reaffirms that Waukesha does not need a Great Lakes diversion to meet its current needs. The CIC will submit this new information along with formal comments to the Regional Body and Compact Council.

The new information finds:

  • Instead of letting wells fail as a justification for requesting Great Lakes water, Waukesha should invest in the operation and maintenance of its current infrastructure and replace the well to regain its historic capacity. It's important to note that the underperformance of this well was not included in the city's original application, but included as supplemental material after the Wisconsin public comment period ended in August.
  • Waukesha should evaluate the treatment technology it's neighbors in Brookfield and Pewaukee use, which does not produce the same problematic radioactive waste or affect the total amount of water needing to be pumped from the deep aquifer. The treatment technology is adaptable and can be scaled to fit small and large systems, including Waukesha's. In Waukesha's case, the city could use the technology on six individual deep water wells in combination with their current treatment technology on one well. It's important to note that the only reason the CIC's NDS included the use of reverse osmosis is because this is the technology Waukesha included in its application as its preferred treatment alternative. Moreover, the challenges of disposing of the waste are surmountable engineering issues and technologically and economically viable options do exist.
  • Waukesha should evaluate the sustainability of deep aquifer use in the area by using Waukesha's actual historic water use to predict its future water use. Based on its past water use, Waukesha's future water use should continue to decline even with population growth and Waukesha’s planned conservation efforts, which could be expanded for even greater water savings. Evaluating the sustainability of the deep aquifer should be done with actual data, not unsubstantiated future water use.

"When an option so commonsense as replacing a well that is underperforming isn't considered part of a reasonable alternative, it's difficult to believe that the alternatives Waukesha evaluates in its application were considered in any sort of good-faith effort,” said Ezra Meyer from Clean Wisconsin. “At the very least, the Non-Diversion Solution should show the Regional Body and Compact Council that Waukesha has not demonstrated that it has exhausted all its alternatives to Great Lakes water as the Great Lakes Compact requires. But more than that, we believe the Non-Diversion Solution is a way forward, not just for the City of Waukesha, but for the region as a whole to conserve and protect our Great Lakes for future generations."

By adding appropriate treatment technology, investing in and properly maintaining its current infrastructure, and implementing responsible conservation measures, the City of Waukesha can sustainably supply its residents with clean drinking water using its existing groundwater sources. The Non-Diversion Solution continues to represent the most cost-effective and technically feasible alternative to meet the existing and future water supply demands for the City of Waukesha.

This new report can be found here, and the original Non-Diversion Solution can be found here.

Wisconsin Waters Get Help From New Grants PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fund for Lake Michigan, Vicki Elkin   
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 12:13

lake-michigan-shoreMILWAUKEE, WI - Continuing its vital work to protect and improve water quality, the Fund for Lake Michigan has just awarded nearly $1.4 million in private grants aimed at improving beaches, reducing polluted runoff and restoring critical habitat in Wisconsin.

The 26 different projects receiving money stretch from Kenosha to Marinette and range from restoration of Harrington Beach State Park north of Port Washington to helping advance one of the country’s largest fish passage projects on the Menominee River.

“With water problems increasingly in the news, the Fund is delivering on its promise to help protect water resources right here in Wisconsin,” says Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Milwaukee-based organization.

The Fund is also backing crucial research and planning as Milwaukee builds upon its reputation as the freshwater business capital of the world.

To that end, the Fund is supporting The Water Council as it launches the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s new water use standard in North America.  Similar to LEED Certification for buildings, the standard requires a building or site owner to ensure sustainable water use within a facility.   The standard goes beyond LEED however by requiring the building owner to understand how their operations impact the surrounding watershed.

“The new AWS standard will help every business that uses water across the Great Lakes region and throughout North America assess their water use and as a result have a duel impact of improving water stewardship and helping the bottom-line of their budget,” says Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council.

The Fund for Lake Michigan was established in 2011 by We Energies, Madison Gas & Electric and WPPI Energy to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region.

To date the fund has:

  • Distributed over 150 grants totaling roughly $12 million
  • Created the equivalent of 480 full-time, family-supporting jobs
  • Added $35 million to the local economy
  • Raised private property values by $45.5 million
  • Leveraged another $35 million in public and private investments in water quality

“Our partnership is providing long-term benefits in safeguarding the Lake Michigan watershed for the entire community,” said Robert Garvin, executive vice president at We Energies.

The largest grant in this round is $190,000 to the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences to conduct an extensive aquatic habitat survey of the city’s harbor. The University will be working with the Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, Harbor District, Inc. and other stakeholders to advance harbor rehabilitation.

“The long-term goal of this study is to restore a thriving recreational fishery and vibrant wildlife population in the heart of urban Milwaukee,” says Elkin.  “In the meantime, we’re sure to see immediate improvements to the Milwaukee harbor and its larger estuary as a result of this grant.”

Other projects slated for funding this year include the creation of a linear park along the recently-completed Beerline Recreational Trail.  A collaboration of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Riverworks Development Corporation, the project aims to spur economic development on the city’s north side.

The projects are fairly well distributed geographically, with the majority directly impacting the Lake Michigan coastline and near shore areas.  The remaining projects are located in watersheds that feed into the lake and have been identified as priority areas for reducing pollution or improving fish and wildlife habitat.

A full of list of grants is available at


Other contacts:

The Water Council:

Meghan Jensen, Director of Marketing & Membership, 414-988-8754, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee:

Laura Otto, University Communications, 414-229-6447, 414-303-4868 (cell), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Greater Milwaukee Committee:

Danya Strait, Event & Communications Director, 414.905.0111, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Highest Ever Tree Pollen Levels Recorded in NE Wisconsin PDF Print E-mail
Written by GBP Staff   
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 11:19

allergyAPPLETON, WI - The Kagen Allergy Clinic identified tree pollen in the air this morning fourteen days earlier than normal, making today Northeast Wisconsin’s first biological day of spring. These are the highest ever tree pollen levels reported as of March 8th for our area.

Typically spring tree pollination occurs in late March, but the tree pollination period began early this year.

Cedar, maple, box elder, and cottonwood pollens are in the air today across Wisconsin. Many people with ragweed allergy will also experience sneezing, nasal congestion and itchy eyes this week because cedar tree pollen allergens look like ragweed.

kagen-fightsforfarmers“We have been monitoring the air in Wisconsin for a quarter century, and this is the second earliest tree pollination we have experienced. If you are allergic to cedar, maple, elm or cottonwood tree pollen, there’s something in the air to make you sneeze, cough and wheeze,” Allergy and Asthma Specialist Dr. Steve Kagen reported this morning.

Thirty percent of Americans develop allergies to tree, grass or weed pollens. Symptoms of allergy include sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches, which is referred to as hay fever. Asthma is an allergic reaction in the lungs, which induces coughing and wheezing.

“It is impossible to avoid tree pollen; that’s why it’s important to take your medications as prescribed by your physician”, Dr. Kagen said. The standard of care for allergy and asthma sufferers includes being skin tested by Board Certified Allergy, Asthma and Immunology specialists to determine the exact cause of one’s symptoms.

New Legislation to Help Nonviolent Criminals Find Work PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lena Taylor, State Senator, 4th District   
Saturday, 05 March 2016 11:22

criminals-find-workMADISON - Employment for ex-felons should always be a bi-partisan issue. That’s why I am excited to co-author a bill that will remove barriers that prevent people who have been convicted of a crime from finding work.

Assembly Bill 614 was introduced by Rep. Dave Knudson, passed in the Assembly last month and had a hearing in the Senate this week. This bill will allow a person who has been convicted of a nonviolent crime to apply for a certificate of qualification for employment (CQE).

This certificate removes many sanctions that come with a conviction and can prevent a person from being hired. Unemployment rates for ex-felons can be as high as 60-70% and men with convictions account for about 34% of all nonworking men from ages 25-54. Also, formerly incarcerated people with one year of employment had a 16% recidivism rate over three years compared to 52.3% recidivism in three years among un-employed ex-convicts.

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