Yorkville City Council OKs engineering work for Lake Michigan connection

Brad Sanderson is the president and CEO of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove, which will perform preliminary engineering work to bring Lake Michigan water to Yorkville. (Mark Foster -- mfoster@shawmedia.com)

YORKVILLE – Construction of a pipeline bringing water to Yorkville from the DuPage Water Commission’s connection with Lake Michigan will be a massive engineering project.

City officials say they need a detailed analysis of the pipeline and supporting infrastructure for the project, including a schedule for its design and construction as well as the cost.

The Yorkville City Council awarded a contract with an area engineering firm to perform the work at its May 24 meeting.

Aldermen commissioned Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove to handle the preliminary engineering at a flat fee of $154,000. The money is included in the city’s current fiscal year budget.

Yorkville, Montgomery and Oswego are working together to connect with the DuPage water network.

After months of investigation and deliberation, all three municipalities decided late last year to connect with the DuPage system, rather than tapping into the Fox River or to use other sources to bring Lake Michigan water to their communities.

The new water source is needed because the aquifer supplying the wells now used by the three communities is being depleted at a rapid pace.

The Illinois State Water Survey reports that without taking action, the three communities would be at “severe risk” of meeting water demand by 2050.

Yorkville officials want to be piping in Lake Michigan water no later than 2030.

The three municipalities have been working with the DWC and state officials to make the project a reality.

Gov. JB Pritzker on May 6 signed a bill that will allow the three communities to connect with the DuPage system.

Sponsored by State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, the legislation provides three municipalities with two representatives on the DWC board, which currently consists of 13 members.

One representative would be appointed by the DuPage County Board chairman, the other by a majority vote of the mayors of the three municipalities.

Meanwhile, Yorkville, Montgomery and Oswego are working on an intergovernmental agreement to split the cost of extending a pipeline from the DuPage water network and to obtain a state permit to access water from Lake Michigan.

Hooking up to the DuPage system will be expensive. There is not only the pipeline itself, but construction of water storage tanks.

The communities will need to comply with a city of Chicago requirement to have enough storage capacity for a two-day supply of water, in case of supply disruptions.

Yorkville is now estimating its capital costs at about $94 million, but the engineering work commissioned by the council will provide more detailed figures.

Aldermen have already approved what is expected to be only the first of several phased-in water rate increases.

Currently, the typical Yorkville household pays $47 a month for water. By 2030, that monthly bill is expected to be about $100.