Fox River or Lake Michigan?: Montgomery officials plan fall open house on new water source options
Village board decision expected by late November or mid-December
By John Etheredge
Engineering consultants and staff for the Village of Montgomery are planning to hold an open house and public meeting in October over plans for a new water source for village water customers.
Peter Wallers, president and CEO of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., told the village board earlier this month his firm has targeted Wednesday, Oct. 13 as the date for the open house and meeting.
EEI and village staff members are working towards a goal of having the village board select a new water source either during a meeting scheduled for Nov. 22 or a meeting set for Dec. 13.
Wallers noted that the water level in the deep sandstone aquifer the village currently draws its water from is falling and will, at some point within the next several years, not be able to keep up with local demand. The village provides water to its residents and businesses and to the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision.
“In the next 10-15 years we will be at the point where we will have areas where the risk of well inoperability will be quite high,” he explained, adding, “We can’t stay on the deep sandstone (aquifer) indefinitely. That is the one certainty that we have.”
As part of continuing study, Wallers said his firm is evaluating in detail the possibility of the village obtaining water from Lake Michigan through either the DuPage Water Commission, the now-forming Joliet Water Commission and the Illinois Lake Water Company out of Plainfield.
Also, Wallers said his firm is evaluating the feasibility of the village drawing water from the Fox River, either through its own water treatment facility, a shared facility with neighboring Oswego and Yorkville or by joining the City of Aurora’s existing system.
Wallers noted that each of the six water source options has multiple factors for the board to consider beyond the issue of cost. He said his firm will include a decision matrix in the study that will contain information on costs and other factors the board will need to consider.
“No matter what system or source the village will select, it will meet all federal guidelines for safe water,” he added.
Wallers said the organizers of the fledgling Joliet Water Commission have asked the village and other area communities to decide by next January whether they wish to join the commission.
When questioned by board member Matt Bauman, Wallers said the Joliet Water Commission is planning to permit, design and construct the pipelines from the City of Chicago to the region and then distributed it to all of the communities that are part of the commission.
“Right now there are 12 communities that are considering being part of the (Joliet) commission. Not all of the 12 will likely become commissions members, but any community that becomes a commission member, the main will be installed to a connection point (in each community) that has been designated,” Wallers explained. “Montgomery has two connection points, Oswego has two or three and I think Yorkville has two.”
Village President Matt Brolley noted that village officials have been aware and studying options for a new water source for the past six years.
“This is probably going to be the single most important decision you will make,” Brolley told the board.
Listening to Wallers detail the various water source options, board member Tom Betsinger said, joking, “Sounds real simple and inexpensive.”
“There are a lot of costs and there are a lot of moving parts but it is necessary for the good of the region,” Wallers said. “I look forward to having the discussion with everybody.”
Editor of the Record Newspapers and KendallCountyNow.com, John's career as a journalist in Kendall County began in 1981. Over the years his news beats have included county government, municipal government, school boards, police and more. He also writes editorials on local issues and the weekly Kendall County Government Newsletter.