2. May 2016 09:33
As a traffic engineer, I don’t deal with water issues on a daily basis. However, as a resident of Bayside, Wisconsin, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a voluntary project that will provide municipal water access from the Mequon Water Utility to over 550 homes in the village.
The project started as part of a grassroots citizen effort over the past few years, initially focused on a small area of the central village, which spread to encompass large portions of eastern and northern areas of the village. Most of the homes in the project area were served by private or shared wells. Several smaller citizen-led projects, including the most recent in 2013, provided the framework for this project. I served as a block captain to inform residents in my neighborhood and encourage participation in the project. Most of our information sharing was by word of mouth, so it gave me an opportunity to get to know my neighbors better, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Several project volunteers, including project leader Penny Goldman, dedicated countless hours to the effort.
The Village of Bayside (which took no official position on the project) served as the conduit between the project and Bayside residents, offering numerous public information sessions, newsletter articles and information booths at local events. The Village also provided financing options to residents to pay for the project over a 20-year term.
After 2-plus years of hard work in planning and design, the project was constructed in summer 2015. Construction started in June and was substantially complete by late fall. Final restoration and punch list items will be completed in spring 2016. The final totals included the installation of nearly 14 miles of water main, 106 fire hydrants, and 127 mainline valves for over 500 new Mequon Water Utility customers. With this project, over 85% of the Village now has access to municipal water.
Connecting individual residences to municipal water is a costly endeavor. This project provided an “economy of scale” by getting a large group of residents to connect at one time and provide a more cost-effective solution. It is believed to be the largest project of its kind in the state of Wisconsin.
Image showing a portion of the Mequon Water Utility map showing the homes to receive municipal water access thanks to this grassroots effort. View the entire map below as a PDF.
Mequon Water Utility.pdf (351.49 kb)