Waste Hauling Into Whitewater

WGTB logo PNG 112x89 Post 75 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.

A few years (and seventy-five posts) ago, I began consideration of a local proposal to haul waste into Whitewater. Those posts became a series, with background work and discussions with people from across Wisconsin.

Last night, Whitewater announced publicly the results of a study on whether a supposed initial waste hauling plan might be feasible, using the Baker Tilly firm. The municipal government commissioned the study in March 2016, and the firm returned an opinion to the city in October 2016 that it would be infeasible.

I used the months since last year’s commissioning to read yet more, speak with others outside the city, and simply wait for the next local development. It seemed prudent to use the time patiently and productively.

The single most important result for our city is that this plan to haul waste into Whitewater will not go forward. That’s the right outcome for this community, and today this city is better off for the decision of her common council, and announcement of her city manager, to end the project.

Locally, I’ve sometimes been asked what I think of this city staff’s support for the project. It’s fair to say that there is a fundamental disagreement on the science of the project. Now or ten years from now, the case against waste hauling into Whitewater will rest on sound fiscal, economic, and environmental bases. Should a proposal arise again, as one heard predicted last night, one may be assured that the case against will be as strong, and fought even more vigorously.

I’ll not take the course of the wastewater superintendent and extend the local discussion gracelessly even at its conclusion; pride is a poor foundation for policy.

Each day one meets the world anew.

Many thanks to so many in town who were encouraging. We’ve a lovely town.

To those from across Wisconsin with whom I have productively corresponded & met, and from whom I have received analyses, studies, and sound insight: I am indebted to you. There are visits eagerly to be made, with correspondence and calls until we see each other again. There’s so much good work that you can and will carry out. You’ve your own efforts ongoing in your communities, and of course you’ve an ally here in all that you do.

It’s mild in Whitewater today: a good day, I think, for residents in this small and beautiful city.

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Attendee, Mr. Anonymous, A Town Squire
7 years ago

This is a joint comment from three of us.We followed this story from the beginning and supported your series. We don’t agree with all your views.(One of us likes Trump but the other two don’t care much for example.) You were right about this digester however with support from us and others. You are smart and persistent. We respect it and know you care about the town.
This project did not belong here. Why? Because there is no local business that needs it. When Hawthorn went that was the last need for it. From the beginning Attendee (got the name from one of the community sessions) saw that this was a thin sketch. He alerted us and others. Thanks for staying with it.
We watched and yes Reel will not let this go. It’s like he wants to put his finger in a socket. Considering how many issues there are he needs to stop talking, work on the daily, or move to another job.
Great work.

7 years ago

This is a nice post. It’s firm but not over the top. You could have done a victory dance but you did not. They wanted to paint you as hysterical about this but it went nowhere. That was what some people tried years ago but no one thinks that now. You probably don’t want to hear this, but you are a fixture here too now. If people downtown are sensible they’ll see that you are saying you hold no grudges. Unfortunately in this town some will see it, some won’t.

The last part is very sweet. Be careful Mr. Adams, someone will think you have a heart.


7 years ago

Good news!

The Phantom Stranger
7 years ago

Yes! Good News! In other words, “no shit.” 😉