WAUKESHA — The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved the Waukesha Water Utility’s request for a 100-year easement for placement of a return flow pipeline near Ryan Road and South 68th Street in Franklin in a 16-1 vote.
The request was previously denied Dec. 6 by the Milwaukee County Board’s Parks Committee. Several supervisors at the time questioned the length of time and cost of the easement.
A new amendment called for the 0.75 acre easement for a term of 25 years with three automatic 25-year renewals as long as Waukesha is in compliance with all terms of the easement. The city is offering $275,000 for the easement, which will be paid in four payments, the first being $50,000 upon execution of the easement, and $75,000 at each of the three subsequent renewals. The $100,000 payments will be put into a trust fund for the benefit of Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture natural areas.
Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said the whole project has been about “regional cooperation” and the approval is another example of that.
“We were able to work with Milwaukee County and come to an agreement on the easement which we are very happy about. It will allow the project to move forward,” Duchniak said.
Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Peter Burgelis applauded the quick work of colleagues to reach an agreement and the amendment. Burgelis previously voiced concern about a 100year lease and the $100,000 cost.
“It’s the right decision and right benefit for Milwaukee County. This is a win for Milwaukee County. We want to be good neighbors to Waukesha,” he said.
Waukesha is under a consent order with the Department of Justice and the Waukesha County Circuit Court to be in compliance with the new radium
The infrastructure project to bring water from Milwaukee that began in 2020 is known as the Great Water Alliance. After being treated, water will be returned to the Root River, a Lake Michigan tributary.
Long-term use of Waukesha’s current groundwater supply is environmentally unsustainable and, additionally, the current supply is contaminated with radium, the alliance says, necessitating a transition to a different source.
A section of the right-of-way was blocked by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Severage District. The only option was to request an easement from the parks department.
The Waukesha Water Utility is requesting this easement to install a segment of the return flow pipeline as part of the Great Water Alliance program. The pipeline conveys high-treated effluent from the Waukesha Clean Water Plant to the Outfall Facilities that discharge flow to the Root River.
The pipeline can’t placed in the right-of-way on Ryan Road due to the right-of-way being full. Temporary construction area of 1.35 acres will be necessary during construction of the project. The amended easement is adjacent to the Ryan Road right-of-way.