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Permits review


To implement the diversion of Lake Michigan water to the city of Waukesha (Waukesha), Waukesha must obtain all required federal, state and local permits and approvals. Waukesha has decided to obtain Lake Michigan water from the Milwaukee Water Utility. Waukesha's treated wastewater will be returned to Lake Michigan via the Root River.

Needed permits and approvals include:

  • The Wisconsin Public Service Commission's construction authorization for construction required to implement the diversion;
  • Wisconsin pollutant discharge elimination system (WPDES) permit for wastewater discharge to the Root River;
  • Wastewater facilities plan approval;
  • Permits for pipeline stream crossings, wetland crossings and Root River outfall;
  • Water supply service area plan approval;
  • DNR public water systems construction plan approval; and
  • Wisconsin diversion approval.

Waukesha also plans to request grants from the DNR to implement the project.

The DNR has completed a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed project, and has issued a determination of compliance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act.

Wetland and waterway permit

The dity of Waukesha submitted a wetland and waterway permit application in June 2018. A revised application was submitted in June 2019. The application was reviewed and a public informational hearing was held in August 2019. The application decision was issued in December 2019.

Wisconsin pollutant discharge elimination system permit

The city of Waukesha submitted a Wisconsin pollutant discharge elimination system (WPDES) permit application in December 2017. The draft WPDES permit was public noticed on August 29, 2019 and a public informational hearing was held on Oct. 17, 2019. The final WPDES permit, which includes conditions and requirements for the discharge for treated wastewater to the Root River, was issued on Dec. 30, 2019.


Date Title
04/25/2019 FHWA Hardship Application Approval
04/08/2019 NEPA CE Analysis for FHWA Hardship Application Approval
02/11/2019 Approval of August 2018 Clean Water Plant Facility Plan Amendment
01/28/2019 EIS Information Needs Letter
01/28/2019 GWA Incompleteness Letter
12/28/2018 Wetland and Waterway Impact Permit Application documents
11/09/2018 Milwaukee Route Alternatives Descriptions
11/09/2018 Milwaukee Route Alternative Panels
11/01/2018 EIS Information Needs Response
10/22/2018 EIS Information Needs Response
09/21/2018 EIS Information Needs Response
08/30/2018 Waukesha Clean Water Plant Facility Plan Amendment
08/13/2018 WI SRF WIFRA Notification letter
06/07/2018 EIR route alternative panels
06/07/2018 EIR route alternative desriptions
03/23/2018 Waukesha supplemental environmental impact report
12/21/2017 Waukesha WPDES individual permit application
12/18/2017 RB-CC Letter re: Milwaukee water supply
11/30/2017 WDNR letter regarding Milwaukee water supply
11/29/2017 Waukesha letter to DNR re: water supplier
06/26/2017 DNR and PSC WEPA letter
02/27/2017 Pre-Return Flow Root River Data Collection Plan
07/13/2016 Waukesha return flow planning limits letter
Contact information
For information on the DNR's review of this project, contact:
Ben Callan