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BREAKING: Yorkville City Council OKs Lake Michigan water plan

YORKVILLE – The Yorkville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening, Dec. 14, to bring Lake Michigan water to Yorkville via the DuPage Water Commission system.

The decision capped months of investigation and deliberation over the city’s future source of water.

The council’s vote sets in motion a process of negotiations with the commission to connect with the well-established system and build a pipeline to Yorkville.

The city hopes that Yorkville residents will be drinking Lake Michigan water by 2030.

Residents and businesses will be paying a premium, with water bills expected to more than double from current rates.

But with the underground aquifer serving Yorkville rapidly becoming depleted, the city has no choice but to tap into another source.

The decision means the city administration will work to create an intergovernmental agreement with Montgomery and Oswego to split the cost of extending a pipeline from the DuPage water network.

The Montgomery Village Board approved a resolution Monday, Dec. 13, identifying Lake Michigan and the DuPage system as its preferred option, while the Oswego Village Board did the same Tuesday, Dec. 14.

The three municipalities will need help from the Illinois General Assembly to change the state law governing the DuPage Water Commission and allow them to join the system. They also will need to obtain permits from the state to tap into Lake Michigan.

Preliminary estimates project that connecting to the DuPage system will cost Yorkville about $94 million and take four to five years to implement.

City officials will be working to determine how to pay for the capital cost, likely through a bond issue.

Negotiations with DuPage officials will include representation on the water commission’s board and, of course, the rate to be paid for the water supply.

Currently, the typical Yorkville family using 5,500 gallons of water a month pays about $47.

That household will pay about $101 a month by 2030, based on current calculations.

The Illinois State Water Survey reports that without taking action, Yorkville, Montgomery and Oswego would be at “severe risk” of meeting water demand by 2050.

Yorkville’s population now stands at 21,533. By 2050, there are expected to be more than 47,000 people living in the community.

The combined population of Oswego, Montgomery and Yorkville is projected to reach more than 143,000 by that same year.

Sugar Grove-based Engineering Enterprises Inc. identified five potential water source options for Yorkville.

Two of these were to use the Fox River as a source. The city could collaborate with the other two towns and build a water treatment facility to serve all three, or it could build and operate a plant independently.

The other three options involved Lake Michigan. They included the DuPage system, the now-forming Joliet Area Water Commission or the Illinois Lake Water system, a private utility that serves several communities in Will County.

The capital cost of building a Fox River facility or tapping into one of the Lake Michigan systems were comparable. The effect on water bills, while considerable under any of the scenarios, would be about the same.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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