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Residents raise concerns over large tanks proposed for Oshkosh water plant

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:34 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - People living in an Oshkosh neighborhood are complaining about changes proposed for the city’s water filtration plant that would block views of Lake Winnebago.

It’s calling for large above ground storage tanks.

On the shore of Lake Winnebago, the city’s water filtration plant could soon become a lot more visible as residents found out from renderings, presented during a meeting of the Clearwells Replacement Project, which are tanks that store the city’s drinking water underground.

Right now those tanks must be replaced to keep up with state regulations.

“The cost to do an underground tank is really cost prohibitive. It would be double the cost of putting it in above ground, but we have to follow the DNR directive in that so we’re looking at having some above ground tanks,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff.

The two tanks would be 75-100 feet in diameter, and residents opposing the plan say it would block their view of the waterfront.

Oshkosh resident Mary Ann Offer added, “If you put these big tanks there than sunset which is a really favorite time for people to gather down there is going to be overshadowed by the shadows of big tanks.”

During a meeting Wednesday, many asked city officials to reconsider and look for a better solution.

Aaron Sherer of Oshkosh said, “Those who like to boat on Lake Winnebago, and spend time enjoying the beauty of the lake I think if they consider it and look around, there’s no other project on a scale like this on the water front.”

Still the city says, there’s only so much space on that property, and one of the existing tanks is over a hundred years old.

“We have the DNR on one hand telling us from a regulatory standpoint we have to get these tanks raised and the Public Service Commission saying you need to do it as cost effective as possible and we have to reconcile both of those,” Rohloff said,

The city says it still has to work out some details, but it could be at least another six months before the DNR approves the project plan.

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