MILWAUKEE – The city of Waukesha, Wis., would receive Lake Michigan water, and turn off its deep wells drawing radium-contaminated water from a sandstone aquifer, under a recommendation approved Wednesday by representatives of Great Lakes states and provinces.
The group on a 9-0 vote affirmed that the city’s application for a Lake Michigan water supply would comply with terms of a Great Lakes protection compact if numerous conditions the representatives recommended were imposed on the plan.
Minnesota representative Julie Ekman abstained from voting. She did not vote because the state’s top officials were continuing to review the regional group’s conditional declaration of support and it was not an indication of opposition to the city’s request, Ekman said.
Representatives of the eight states and two provinces voted on the declaration during a conference call.
Two conditions recommended by the group include a lower volume of lake water and a smaller distribution area than requested by Waukesha.
Governors of the eight states, or their designated representatives, will meet in Chicago in late June to consider the regional group’s conditional approval and vote on the city’s request.
The Conference of Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers had not confirmed a meeting date as of Wednesday morning.
The Great Lakes compact requires a unanimous vote of approval by the eight states. The premiers of Ontario and Quebec do not vote at that time, though their representatives on the regional group recommended approval.
The regional group’s recommendation of support does not guarantee final approval by the states.
If Waukesha’s request is granted, it would become the first U.S. community located entirely outside the Great Lakes drainage basin to receive a diversion of lake water since the compact became federal law in 2008.