Work Group Convened by County Executive Falk Releases Recommendations on Water Issues Associated with Proposed Co-Generation Plan on Campus
May 05, 2003
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
A work group convened by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk to study the impacts on the Yahara River of a proposed West Campus Co-Generation Facility released their findings and recommendations Monday.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) have proposed the development of a co generation facility on the UW campus to provide steam and chilled water for the school while generating
electricity for the utility.
The facility would require, on average, approximately 1 million gallons of water a day to be drawn from Lake Mendota for various uses such as cooling towers.
To compensate for withdrawing this water from the lake, flow in the Yahara River may have to be supplemented by additional water approximately three to four months every three to four years, when the river experiences low flow.
“While the state has authority over whether or not the plant is allowed to be built, Dane County has an important role in protecting our waters. That is the reason I convened a group of experts on water issues to review the issue and make recommendations,” said County Executive Falk.
The recommendations include:
· When the Yahara River flow must be increased, the recommendation is to pump water from a City of Madison Water Utility well in the wetlands area of the Nine Springs Creek between Highway 14 and Lake Waubesa. Water from the well would be added to the Yahara system at Upper Mud Lake.
· In order to replace the groundwater used by pumping the well, the recommendation is to create enhanced “infiltration areas,” meaning that rainwater would be captured in ponds and pools and diverted through ditching channels to recharge the well.
"I am grateful to the members of the work group for their ability to take on a challenge and to produce creative and sound solutions,” said Falk.
Representing the work group at today's presentation were:
· Ken Johnson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Lower Rock River Basin Team Leader
· Al Larson, Madison Water Utility, Principal Engineer
· Kevin Connors, Director, Dane County Land Conservation Department
· Ken Potter, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW Madison
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West Campus Co-Generation Facility (WCCF)
Study on Use of City Water Well
The Madison Water Utility proposed that water well #5 could potentially be used to augment low flow conditions in the Yahara River. MGE conducted a groundwater level monitoring study to evaluate the effects of seasonal pumping from water well #5 on the water table and wetlands around Nine Springs Creek. The study was conducted from February through April 2003.
Water well #5 will be replaced in 2003 by well #30, a new, high capacity-unit located nearby.
Well #5 could augment low flows on the Yahara River system. Water from the well would enter the Yahara system at Upper Mud Lake.
Groundwater and surface water data were gathered manually and electronically from 15 existing monitoring wells, 2 municipal supply wells, 2 temporary monitoring wells and a surface water pipe in the Nine Springs Creek.
Study results show pumping at well # 5 has little to no short-term effect on the water table in the Nine Springs Creek or associated wetlands.
Well #5 would be used to mitigate the effects of WCCF withdrawal during low flow times and drought. The WDNR has estimated that these conditions will occur approximately 3-4 months every 3-4 years.
WCCF Water Recharge Study
Water infiltration has been reduced in Dane County by the effects of urbanization such as roads, buildings, parking areas, etc.
A study conducted by Montgomery Associates: Resource Solutions reviewed options for providing groundwater recharge. These options will supplement water withdrawn by well #5, used to mitigate the effects of WCCF withdrawal during low flow times and drought.
The groundwater will be recharged by retaining storm water in basins. These basins will promote surface water recharge to the ground water.
Other benefits of these recharge options: Reduction of surface water runoff, some improvement in storm water quality, they are designed to meet all future water recharge needs of WCCF.