Stadium Renovations Could Strain City Water Supply

Lambeau Field renovation plans include adding hundreds of new toilets, but the city's water supply might not be able to meet demand during long restroom lines at halftime, the city's utility manager said.

Overdrawing the system's water supply brings water pressure and volume down to levels that threaten fire protection on the city's southwest side, said William Nabak, general manager of Green Bay Water Utility.

Project managers must find a way to keep the system safe in time for installation work to be completed in spring, said Stuart Zadra of Hammes Co.

The Green Bay Packers would likely be billed to find a solution because the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin won't allow the cost to expand water lines to be passed to other customers.

"(The Packers) draw down the whole system, but it's still at a safe level," Nabak said of the current halftime peak. "What we told them is, 'We're not going to let you draw it down to an unsafe level."'

The $295-million Lambeau Field renovation project calls for an increase in men's toilets from 436 to 568 and for the number of women's toilets to rise from 180 to 620.

The stadium currently needs about 1,500 gallons of water per minute during peak times -- usually about the first 10 minutes of halftime -- and that could go up to 2,400 gallons per minute after the renovation.

Possible solutions include building a bigger system to support the stadium at a cost of about $400,000, building a pressure tank where the Packers could store enough water, or the city buying water from the village of Ashwaubenon and selling it to the Packers.

A village water line that runs near the stadium could also provide an adequate supply to the stadium at a cost of about $20,000, Zadra said.

The Packers should adopt the most cost-effective plan to handle the five- to 10-minute peak that happens just 10 times a year, Zadra said.

"If we don't need to spend the money, let's not spend it unwisely," Zadra said.


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