The Latest: 8 states OK city’s use of Lake Michigan water


CHICAGO (AP) — The latest on a meeting of representatives of the eight Great Lakes states to determine whether the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, will be allowed to use Lake Michigan as its drinking water source (all times CDT):

1 p.m.

A council representing the eight Great Lakes states has voted to allow Waukesha, Wisconsin, unprecedented access to Lake Michigan as its drinking water source.

The city of 70,000 in the Milwaukee suburbs won unanimous approval Tuesday from eight states that are members of a regional compact designed to prevent water raids from afar.

Waukesha is only 17 miles from Lake Michigan but lies just outside the Great Lakes watershed boundary. It needed unanimous approval from the compact states to draw water from the lake.

The city says its groundwater is tainted with radium.

The council approved several amendments designed to ensure that conditions it placed on Waukesha’s application could be enforced.

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12 p.m.

Representatives of the eight Great Lakes states have begun a meeting in Chicago that is expected to determine whether the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, will be allowed to use Lake Michigan as its drinking water source.

Waukesha has submitted a $207 million plan to draw water from the lake, describing it as a necessity because the groundwater wells on which it has long relied are contaminated with radium. The city is only 17 miles from the lake but lies just outside the Great Lakes watershed.

A regional compact prohibits most diversions of water across the watershed boundary, but creates a potential exception for communities within counties that straddle the line. Waukesha is the first community to request water under that provision.

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12:15 a.m.

Representatives of the eight states in the Great Lakes region are preparing to decide whether a city in the Milwaukee suburbs qualifies to tap Lake Michigan as its drinking water source.

Waukesha, Wisconsin says the groundwater wells on which it has long relied are contaminated with radium. The city is only 15 miles from the lake. But because it lies just outside the Great Lakes watershed, it needs permission from all the region’s states to use lake water.

They include Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Waukesha says it would return as much water as it uses. Opponents say the city has other alternatives and approving its request would set a precedent that could lead to demands from other communities near the watershed boundary.

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