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Somers seeks additional lake water to accommodate development needs

Somers seeks additional lake water to accommodate development needs

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SOMERS — The Village of Somers seeks to divert up 1.2 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan to extend water supply to an area that includes the Pritzker Archives and Memorial Park Center.

The application was filed with the state Department of Natural Resources, which will hold a public hearing on the application and determine if it meets the Great Lakes compact diversion requirements for communities that straddle two basins. The Village of Somers straddles the subcontinental divide between the Lake Michigan basin and Mississippi River basin.

“We’ve been working on this for a very long time,” Somers Administrator Jason Peters said, adding while it encompasses advance planning for future development, the timing is also “driven” by the Pritzker project and adjacent commercial development east of I-94, south of Highway E and west of 100th Avenue.

The contractor has been chosen to install the infrastructure and easements have been acquired to bring water service to the Pritzker development.

The public hearing date has yet to be announced. It will be followed by a 30-day comment period.

Service area

“The requested diversion amount is sufficient to serve the current population and the projected ultimate buildout population,” Douglas Snyder, consulting engineer with Baxter & Woodman, indicated in the application. “This water diversion is based on population projections rather than current development, and represents the culmination of a 10-year effort to expand municipal water service throughout the Village.”

The area proposed for service with diverted water is currently farmland and commercial area.

It is expected to become a combination of industrial, residential and commercial uses in the future, Snyder indicated in the application.

The service area borders I-94 to the west, First Street (Highway KR) to the north, 18th Street (Highway L) to the south and the subcontinental divide to the east.

The entire village is approximately 12,400 acres in size and the diversion area comprises 2,300 acres of the total.

A portion of the Town of Paris is expected to be annexed into the village within the next 50 years per terms described in the City of Kenosha, Village of Somers, Town of Paris Cooperative Plan. The annexed lands are not part of the diversion application. It is understood that each customer within that area shall apply for a diversion at the time of annexation.

Water from Kenosha

The village purchases water wholesale from the Kenosha Water Utility (KWU). This diversion would not require additional water treatment infrastructure at KWU, which submitted a letter of support for this diversion to the DNR on behalf of the village.

Although the village sources water exclusively from KWU, the village owns and operates its own water supply system, and is therefore the applicant for this diversion request.

The Kenosha Water Utility has been approved by the DNR for a water withdrawal in the Great Lakes basin in the amount of 35.68 million gallons per day average per year. This withdrawal approval was subsequently revised in 2009 to 45.0 million gallons per day. This withdrawal approval allows KWU to provide water from the Great Lakes basin for public water supply purposes outside of the Great Lakes basin.

“KWU has adequate capacity at the water production plant and approved withdrawal amounts to supply the requested average day diversion amount of 1.2 million gallons,” Chris Czarnecki, principal engineer for the KWU, wrote in support of the Somers’ application. “Wastewater plant capacity needs would be assessed at the time of development to determine if adequate capacity exists or additional capacity is required.”

Straddling community diversion applications are regulated under the Great Lakes Compact. The process allows communities that straddle the Great Lakes basin divide to apply to divert Great Lakes water with return flow to the Great Lakes. This type of proposal is different from the Waukesha diversion proposal and does not require the approval of the other Great Lakes governors.

More information and updates about public hearing dates are available online at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/WaterUse/Somers.html.

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