water deal has escape clause
storage approval awaited
Green Bay Press Gazette
A proposed water-purchase agreement between Green Bay and
nine suburbs made public Thursday would allow the suburbs
to walk away from the deal if the city flunks a state test
of a new water storage technique.
the results arent good, thats going to mean
a major, major problem, said Brown County planner
Mike Parmentier, a consultant to the suburbs.
Aquifer storage and recovery is a technique in which treated
drinking water is piped underground into wells for use
during periods of peak demand.
Green Bay began the states second-ever test of aquifer
storage in June.
The Natural Resources Board, the policy-setting arm of
the state Department of Natural Resources, voted in August
to amend department rules to allow municipal water utilities
to use aquifer storage providing recovered water passes
a quality test.
Results of Green Bays test are expected next spring.
Aquifer storage could save Brown County ratepayers millions
in coming decades because it would allow the city to delay
capital outlays otherwise needed to upgrade its water
systems to serve the peak water demands of an expanded
The proposed deal announced Wednesday and released to
the public Thursday differs in a few key particulars from
a draft agreement announced by the city and suburbs last
The new proposal abandons a stipulation that city and
suburbs share equally in savings from any deal. The new
proposal also allows, but doesnt require, the suburbs
to opt for city water under more expensive conventional
terms failing a favorable ruling on aquifer storage from
the DNR by Oct. 1, 2003.
conventional option from Green Bay doesnt look real
good in terms of costs for the suburbs, Parmentier
The nine suburbs are Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, De
Pere, Hobart, Howard, Lawrence, Ledgeview and Scott, which
operate as the Central Brown County Water Authority.
The suburbs fallback plan following an unfavorable
DNR ruling would likely be a suburbs-owned-and-operated
$135 million Lake Michigan pipeline already endorsed by
the authority in 1999. The timing of that decision would
leave the suburbs behind the eight ball with respect to
tough new federal requirements for allowable limits of
radium in drinking water with compliance dates in December
2003 and 2006.
the risk were taking, said water authority
President Len Teresinski.
A new wrinkle in the proposal released Thursday spells
out conditions under which the state Public Service Commission
would take over rate-setting. The proposed agreement calls
for the suburbs to pay the city $1.23 per 1,000 gallons
for ready-to-drink water the same rate the city
charges its biggest industrial users.
That rate would increase as needed to allow the city to
recover costs of delivering water to the suburbs. The
draft agreement announced in July called for the PSC to
take over rate-setting authority sometime on or before
The new proposed deal calls for the city to yield rate-setting
authority to the PSC when the citys profits from
water sales to the suburbs hit $60 million something
the authority expects to happen between 2015 and 2020.
know because of the additional revenue Green Bay is going
to get were going to attain that $60 million plateau
a lot earlier than 2031, Teresinski said.
Green Bay Mayor Paul Jadin declined to comment on the
suburbs new proposal until after a meeting with
water authority negotiators today. But Jadin said Wednesday
the suburbs new proposal contained some curve
balls and suggested he couldnt live with some
wording in the new agreement.
Teresinski said he talked to Jadin by phone Thursday and
think were going to be OK, he said.