Monday, July 24, 2006

JS wrong on crucial New Berlin fact

The JS really, really, really wants Milwaukee to sell water to the paper's advertising base in New Berlin, and has repeated an error that helps it argue the way it wants to argue.

The paper reported (emphasis added):

DNR water chief Todd Ambs said Wisconsin's position since the governors started rewriting the rules in 2001 is to no longer make unilateral decisions on diversion requests where the water is returned to the basin. That is why New Berlin is allowed to pump Lake Michigan water only to portions of the city that lie inside the basin, a practice that began last summer.

But, Ambs said, the DNR believes Wisconsin legally retains the right to make the call whether to send water over the divide in New Berlin, though that won't happen until his agency allows for a public review of the plan.

Ambs noted that New Berlin now sends 2.4 million gallons more per day into the Great Lakes basin than it takes because city well water taken from west of the divide is pumped into Lake Michigan via the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The fact that the entire city is hooked to district means it has essentially engineered itself into the basin.

Another story said:

In its application filed in spring with the DNR, the city points out that it essentially has engineered itself into the Great Lakes basin because all of its wastewater already is pumped into Lake Michigan via the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The paper also opined:

New Berlin, already a client of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, returns its wastewater to the lake. As long as there are no other environmental issues at stake, New Berlin should get the water.

But the entire city of New Berlin isn't hooked up to MMSD, and only part of the city is an MMSD client. Milwaukee Ald. T. Anthony Zielinski got this crucial fact right when he advocated selling Milwaukee water to the part of New Berlin west of the divide and is within the MMSD service area. The MMSD commission would have to act to expand the boundaries to include the western 2/5 of the city.

MMSD has a nice map showing its boundaries.

We are sure the paper will set itself straight. It is too big a mistake for it not to do so.

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