CBCWA celebrates 10 years providing Howard with water
By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – For the past 10 years the Brown County Central Water Authority has provided water to Howard from Lake Michigan.
The water that pours through faucets in Howard has traveled 65 miles from one of the largest lakes in the world to local homes.
The Brown County Central Water Authority celebrated 10 years in service last month. It provides drinking water to Howard, Lawrence, Bellevue, Allouez, De Pere and Ledgeview.
“It’s really fantastic. We gave a tour to our trustees for the village as part of that 10th anniversary celebration,” said Geoff Farr, Howard director of public works. “Everybody is very impressed with the facility and the things it does. It provides us with some emergency backup storage, it provides us with energy savings, reduces water surges, extends the life of the pipeline, so there’s a lot of benefits to that storage facility.”
The storage facility Farr referred to is a 11.5 million gallon tank that holds treated water for the entire system in Ledgeview.
Water comes from Lake Michigan and is treated in Manitowoc.
From Manitowoc it is pumped to the storage facility in Ledgeview.
The facility is located at one of the highest elevation points on the Niagara Escarpment between here and Lake Michigan, so with the help of gravity and the occasional pump, it can make it to Howard water facilities.
From there it goes out to local homes and businesses.
Every month Howard averages roughly 48 million gallons of water. Close to a million and half gallons per day.
“The village and its members basically decided to build a pipeline because it was the lowest cost option to obtain significant volumes of water and water that did not need treatment for radium,” Farr said.
With the 10 year anniversary of water service the village of Howard is a third of the way done with paying off debt for the project.
“We’re looking forward to a time when the water authority debt is paid off 20 years from now and water rates return to pre-construction levels, or reduced costs,” Farr said.
Howard is capable of storing 2.75 million gallons itself. The storage ability allows for flexibility in delivering water at lower costs.
“All of the members have their own distribution systems, pipelines, wells, storage, and each community has their own they operate,” Farr said. “The Central Brown County Water Authority really is just a transition system to get from Manitowoc who produces the water to get to each member community.”
Howard is doing a good job keeping rates low, according to Dave Vaclavik, manager for the Central Brown County Water Authority.
“They have been declining in use, they’ve been working hard on water loss prevention, fixing leaks and those kind of things and have had some great success in that,” Vaclavik said. “… Which is a good thing for residents of Howard because if it doesn’t run through our meter they don’t have to pay for it.”
Treating the water in Manitowoc and piping it to the six communities the water authority serves also allows for a high quality product for its members and area residents.
“We’re consistently meeting every applicable limit, so the water is very high quality and we’re real pleased with the treatment provided by Manitowoc Public Utilities,” Vaclavik said.