CHICAGO (AP) – 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 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 council approved several amendments designed to ensure that conditions it placed on Waukesha’s application could be enforced.
The eight states in the council include Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.