Council hears water options, issues
By Ray Barrington
Green Bay News-Chronicle
Green Bay City Council members heard the numbers Tuesday
on the various options the city faces in its water future
- with and without serving suburban communities.
In an information session before Tuesday's uneventful
City Council meeting, council members got technical and
legal information on issues linked to a deal between the
city and the Central Brown County Water Authority to sell
water from the city's Lake Michigan pipeline to nine suburbs.
The city and suburbs have agreed on the details of a
sale involving aquifer storage and recovery, the storing
of treated water in wells, and are still working on details
on a backup plan involving direct service.
To handle that direct service, however, would take a
larger pipeline than the city's Water Commission has planned
to build - 66 inches as opposed to 54 inches.
Engineer Warren Green said the city could still build
the larger pipeline by 2005 if it bid the larger and smaller
pipelines at the same time and built the larger pipeline
with several crews at the same time rather than building
it in one long unit.
The council has backed the larger pipe.
Former mayor Paul Jadin, speaking as the former negotiator,
emphasized that for the city to build its own pipeline
would mean a 16 percent rate increase for the city's bulk
users as opposed to shared costs of a pipe - even a larger
one - with the CBCWA.
He said "the opposition," implying the Water
Commission, was "in pursuit of effectively avoiding
He said the backup plan - an agreement of full service
to the suburbs without ASR - would have to be in place
by Oct. 1.
The city commission has said a larger pipeline would
be a waste of money if ASR is approved, and that a state
Supreme Court decision meant service would have to continue
Attorney Sandy Williams of Foley & Lardner said he
believed a tightly written agreement between the city
and authority, blessed by the state Public Service Commission,
could avoid the "once served, never denied"
The city is negotiating with the suburbs on possible
service to allow the suburbs to use some city water to
avoid radium standards by 2006 that would require it to
stop use of most suburban wells. The suburbs would use
city water to average the amount of radium in drinking
Green presented numbers showing the city alone would
require a maximum-day demand of 54.4 million gallons a
day by 2050. The city can process 31.4 mgd today, and
projects in the works, either being built or on the drawing
board, would run the city-only capacity to 56 mgd.
But with the suburban demand mixed in, peak demand would
be 98 mgd by 2050. He said a system to handle that amount
of water would cost $154 million with $121.6 million coming
from the CBCWA, $32.4 million from the city. The expanded
system would require three intake pipes at Lake Michigan,
an expanded pumping station, 42- and 66-inch pipes to
an expanded treatment plant, and a separate new pipeline
to be shared by both the authority and city, along with
authority costs for its own distribution system.
He said that if the Green Bay utility went on its own,
all work could be completed by fall 2006. That would also
be the case if a joint suburban project with ASR were
But some of the work for a nonASR suburban system, notably
the building of an expanded treatment plant, might not
be done until early 2008.
Green Bay could face problems if it was to replace its
existing 42-inch pipeline. Before it is removed, a new
pipeline would have to be built or else Green Bay could
not meet its own demand. That would require about $25,000
in land costs to build the third line.
Meanwhile, Ald. Ron Antonneau has asked the city's Personnel
Committee to look at the "role of the Water Commission"
in city government.
"I don't really know what I want to do," he
said. "It just seems that when we have the mayor
and city council pulling one way and the commission another,
it isn't good."