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Wauwatosa's Water Utility department received awards from the Wisconsin Section of the American Water Works Association for its outreach efforts during a Windows Into Wauwatosa tour and for its work on a massive transmission line project.

The department was one of two winners to receive a 2016 Utility Achievement Award presented for its efforts in hosting a successful open house at Blanchard Pumping Station, 7300 W. Blanchard St. The open house was part of the annual Windows Into Wauwatosa event presented by the Wauwatosa Neighborhood Association Council on June 20, 2015.

During the tour, the department offered a behind-the-scenes look at water services for the community.

The pumping station was one of 20 Wauwatosa community buildings, businesses and historic sites open for the public to explore that day. Among the featured attractions that day, water utility employees created an operational, small-scale fire hydrant with a cutout section to demonstrate how a dry barrel hydrant functions.

The pumping station drew about 250 visitors. The city's water utility held a similar open house in June of this year.

The Wauwatosa Water Utility was honored with a second award; the department received the "2016 Project of the Year Award."

The award promotes and recognizes excellence in engineering, design or construction in the Wisconsin drinking water industry. Wauwatosa received the award for its work to relocate a 24-inch water transmission main in advance of the freeway realignment and widening through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's massive Zoo Interchange Project. The relocation also accommodated the reconstruction of the proposed Wisconsin Avenue bridge.

The relocation created a potential water supply problem for Wauwatosa's west pressure district, according to a project narrative. The transmission main served as the area’s main artery and supplied 1.5 million gallons of water daily. By disabling the supply main during the relocation, a pumping station on Potter Road would have been out of service and the distribution system would have lacked the necessary minimum 35 psi static water pressure to properly serve homes and businesses in the west pressure district.

In partnership with consulting and engineering firm GRAEF, the Wauwatosa Water Utility developed a plan to keep the heart of the water system working during the relocation through a temporary booster station. The station allowed the relay of a single-source, 2.5-mile, 24-inch transmission main without service disruption.

The temporary station was in operation for just over a month and prevented the waste of more than two million gallons of stored water, according to the narrative.

Mayor Kathy Ehley congratulated the Wauwatosa Water Utility during a common council meeting Sept. 20.

The American Water Works Association is an international non-profit, scientific and educational association founded to improve water quality and supply.

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