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Yorkville’s future water supply focus of open house Tuesday at City Hall

YORKVILLE – Residents of Yorkville will learn about options for the future of their water supply during a public open house from 5 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Yorkville City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.

City officials are facing a major decision and they want both to educate the community and to receive opinions from residents.

The aquifer supplying the city’s deep wells is being depleted even as the city’s population continues to grow.

The city is faced with the prospect of tapping into either Lake Michigan or the Fox River as a source of water by 2030, in order to maintain a reliable supply.

Displays at the open house will detail the five engineering options available. City officials and consultants will be available both to answer questions and hear what residents think.

Yorkville is in the same boat with Montgomery and Oswego, which use the same aquifer and are also growing in population.

The Illinois State Water Survey reports that without taking action, the three municipalities will be at “severe risk” of not being able to meet water demand by 2050.

To draw water from the Fox River, Yorkville could create its own system or form a cooperative with the other two communities to build a single water treatment plant serving all three.

If the city decides to tap into Lake Michigan, it could connect with the DuPage Water Commission system, the currently forming Joliet Water Commission or the private Illinois Lake Water System which serves several communities in Will County.

Residential water bills will more than double, whichever of the five options is selected.

Jeffrey Freeman of Sugar Grove-based Engineering Enterprises, Inc., the city’s engineering consultants, said that if the three communities use the Fox River as their source and cooperate to build a treatment plant to service them all, the economies of scale will allow for a more cost-efficient operation.

There also is a potential for savings on the connection cost if all three municipalities hook up to the DuPage system, Freeman said.

If the communities decide on any of the Lake Michigan options, they will be required to increase their water storage capacity.

The city of Chicago mandates that Lake Michigan water customers maintain a two-day supply to be kept on hand at all times in case of a transmission disruption.

Freeman said that for Yorkville, this would mean establishing a ground tank next to the water tower at Grande Reserve on Mill Road and another next to the tower south of Route 71 near the Raintree Village development.

Based on the projected population of more than 47,000 residents by 2050, Yorkville will need to keep 8 million gallons of water on hand in order to meet the two-day storage requirement, Freeman said.

Freeman is recommending that the city connect to its new water source by 2030.

By then, the typical Yorkville household consuming 5,500 gallons a month could expect to be paying about $120 each month for water. Currently, that household receives a bill for about $46 a month.

The capital cost of establishing its own water system would be about $97 million. Yorkville’s initial cost for a cooperative system with Oswego and Montgomery would be marginally higher, at about $98 million.

The go-it-alone option could be implemented in five to seven years, while the cooperative system would take about a decade to become operational.

Connecting to the DuPage system would cost about $94 million and take four to five years to implement.

Tapping into the Joliet system would cost about $106 million and would be operational no earlier than 2030.

The capital cost for connecting to the Illinois Lake Water system has not been determined.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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