Jul 30, 2014
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Oak Creek, Waukesha Near Lake Michigan Water Deal

The Oak Creek Common Council and Water Utility Commission are scheduled to vote on the contract Tuesday.

Oak Creek, Waukesha Near Lake Michigan Water Deal

Waukesha is closing in on an agreement with Oak Creek to provide Lake Michigan water.

The Oak Creek Common Council and Water Utility Commission will each vote on the contract Tuesday. Terms were not immediately known.

Waukesha still faces a long climb to get Lake Michigan water, including approval from all Great Lakes states. But the votes Tuesday represent a significant step. Waukesha spent a year and a half in negotiations with Oak Creek and Racine. City officials also wanted to negotiate with their preferred supplier, Milwaukee, but discussions never happened.

The Waukesha Water Utility and the Waukesha Common Council met in closed sesssion earlier this month to discuss the water sales contract, but information was not made public after that meeting.

The Oak Creek Water and Sewer Utility has said providing Waukesha with Lake Michigan water could result in a rate reduction of as much as 25 percent for Oak Creek residents.

Waukesha is forced to either treat or replace its water supply by 2018 because radium levels have put the city's water supply out of legal compliance. The city's wells also face problems with declining water quality due to arsenic and saltwater and with a limited groundwater supply.

Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak has said all water supply alternatives exist outside the city limits, and that of all the possibilities, diverting water from Lake Michigan is the most cost-effective solution.

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