Yorkville water rates to rise no matter which new source option city officials choose

Typical monthly bill projected to range between $91 and $101 by 2030

YORKVILLE – The rate Yorkville residents will pay for water consumption will be nearly the same regardless of which option is selected by city officials as the new supply source.

While the cost is still expected to at least double, it will not be quite as high as had initially been thought.

New calculations by the city’s engineering consultant show that by 2030 the typical monthly charge for a Yorkville household will be somewhere between $91 and $101. Initial estimates had placed the monthly cost at about $120.

Currently, the average family using 5,500 gallons of water a month pays $46.67, according to Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove.

However, that rate must be increased dramatically in order for the city to maintain a reliable supply.

The aquifer from which Yorkville’s deep wells draw water is being depleted and the city must tap into the Fox River or Lake Michigan as its source for supplying a growing population.

Engineering consultant Jeff Freeman is recommending that Yorkville make the switch by 2030.

The least expensive option would be for Yorkville to cooperate with Montgomery and Oswego, communities facing the same challenge, to develop a single water treatment plant using the Fox River as its source.

That option, described as a sub-regional system, would produce a monthly bill of $90.87, according to the engineering firm.

Or, Yorkville could tap into the river on its own. This option would lack the economy of scale produced by banding together with the other two communities, leading to a higher operational cost and a slightly higher monthly bill of $92.83.

To draw water from Lake Michigan, the city has three options.

The cost of connecting with the Illinois Lake Water system, a private utility from Plainfield, has not yet been determined. Yorkville officials already seem to be dismissing that alternative.

That leaves the well-established DuPage Water Commission or the currently forming Joliet Regional Water Commission.

Freeman has examined two possible scenarios if Yorkville connects with the DuPage system. One would lead to a monthly cost of $100.78, while the other would result in a bill of $92.50.

Tapping into the Joliet system would produce a monthly bill of $98.44 for that typical Yorkville household in 2030.

“These numbers are very consistent,” Freeman said of the rates expected to be produced by the various options. “The range is similar.”

If Yorkville officials wish to be part of the Joliet system, they will need to move quickly.

“Joliet wants a decision by the end of the year. They need to move forward on a design,” Freeman said during an informational open house at Yorkville City Hall on Oct. 19.

The reason for the two DuPage price scenarios stems from Joliet’s negotiations with the city of Chicago, which controls the Lake Michigan supply.

Joliet is seeking a “cost of service” rate structure, Freeman said, paying only for the components of the system that it uses.

Currently, residents of Chicago pay $4.12 per 1,000 gallons of water, Freeman said.

Customers of the DuPage system pay that same rate, plus 85 cents for transmission. The DuPage Water Commission and the city of Chicago will be negotiating a new agreement to become effective in 2024, Freeman said.

If DuPage is successful in obtaining the cost of service rate structure, it would lead to the $92.50 monthly bill for Yorkville households, he said.

Based on current models, however, Yorkville residents could expect to pay the $100.78 monthly bill.

The DuPage system’s water comes from the Jardine Water Plant immediately north of Navy Pier, Freeman said, while the Joliet system will be getting its supply from the Eugene Sawyer Water Plant on the city’s south shore.

Both of the treatment plants draw water from intake pipes that reach far out into the lake.

A major portion of Yorkville’s increased water rates will be to service the debt from capital investment, whether it is building a new treatment plant for Fox River water or extending water mains and paying connection fees to tap into Lake Michigan.