Batavia receives funding to replace lead water service lines

Batavia was awarded nearly $4 million through the Illinois Environmental Protective Agency to replace outdated lead water service lines throughout the city.

The City Council approved a notice of intent to award the contract to Brandt Excavating Inc. during Monday’s meeting.

“It would appear that [the program] is going to save the Batavia rate payer some significant amount of money to get rid of all this lead-based pipe we’ve got in the ground, some of it originally put in there about 1893,” said Mayor Jeffery Schielke. “It needs to be taken out.”

The city became aware of IEPA’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program, which would award up $4 million for the replacement of lead service lines, in 2020, according to documents.

Through intensive surveying, city staff compiled evidence of 750 lines in need of replacing and submitted them to the IEPA for approval in 2021. Documents showed another 300 identified water service lines were submitted to the IEPA in early 2022.

According to documents, the city was approved to receive $3,984,353 IEPA funding in July.

“This [approval] is an extra procedural step and just giving a notice of intent, this does not obligate us at all,” said Alderman Nicholas Cerone. “We are excited that we will get an up to $3.9 million forgivable loan from the Illinois EPA for the lead service line replacement project.”

“It’s something that, from a health and safety perspective, needs to be done,” Schielke said.

In other meeting news, the city also approved a partial demolition of an industrial building at 107 Union Ave.

“It’s a building that’s directly east of the end of Main Street, where Main Street ends at Water Street. They believe that it was constructed around the 1940s,” said Alderman Alann Wolff. “It really hasn’t been used since Pamarco moved out of there.”

The approval comes after a public discussion held during the Batavia Historic Preservation’s Sept. 26 meeting that included testimony from current owner Batavia Enterprises Inc.

Wolff said that the demolition would make way for additional parking and city events.

“This will provide a better parking situation for that street when the Winter Market’s over there on Saturdays,” he said.