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Waukesha Analyzing Water Bid from Milwaukee

Waukesha is looking for a municipality, bordering Lake Michigan, to provide water.

Last year, The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council approved Waukesha's plan to use water from the lake as it's main water supply, then return an equal amount of treated wastewater to the lake.


For months, Waukesha has negotiated with Oak Creek to supply the water. Officials in Oak Creek say the deal could generate nearly $5 million per year, and lower water bills in the city by as much as 20 percent. 

The Waukesha Common Council has put the brakes on a potential agreement with Oak Creek, and that's because the council wants a full analysis of an offer from Milwaukee.

Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly says the Milwaukee offer came in late May, and Reilly says the offer was unsolicited. 

Back in 2012, Milwaukee stepped away as a potential water supplier for Waukesha over concerns about service area size.

Milwaukee Public Works spokeswoman, Sandy Rusch Walton, said in an email, "What we can share is that circumstances have changed since 2012, and Milwaukee believes that we have an excellent product to sell to Waukesha residents at a competitive price."

Rusch Walton would not reveal details of the Milwaukee offer, citing an ongoing negotiation process with Waukesha. 

Oak Creek's Water and Sewer Utility General Manager, Mike Sullivan, said he believes Milwaukee will offer a lower price per 1,000 gallons than Oak Creek.

Waukesha officials are cautioning other factors will be considered, not just the cost per 1,000 gallons.

Waukesha Water Utility Manager, Dan Duchniak, said, “I can’t really comment on the likelihood of Milwaukee coming out ahead. It’s a long road to travel and we’ve been traveling that road with Oak Creek for a while. So as I indicated before, it would have to be an aggressive proposal [from Milwaukee], and we’re still in the process of evaluating that proposal.”

Duchniak said a firm contracted by Waukesha is analyzing the Milwaukee proposal. Duchniak said results are expected in late August or early September.

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