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Lake Bluff water agency seeks new members

Central Lake County Joint ActiWater Agency Lake Bluff. | Ed Collins/For Sun-Times Media

Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency in Lake Bluff. | Ed Collins/For Sun-Times Media

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Lake Michigan is the largest fresh water lake in the United States and the fifth in the world.

Lake Michigan is the only one of the five Great Lakes to lie wholly within the boundaries of the United States.

The five Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water.

Lake Michigan is the second largest lake by volume and the third largest by surface area after Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Updated: March 30, 2014 3:36AM

LAKE BLUFF — Members of the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLC/JAWA) are seeking more community members to expand the sale of fresh Lake Michigan drinking water so they can spread operating overhead costs.

The water system is the third largest in Illinois and the newest constructed along Lake Michigan in 45 years. The system is capable of purifying 50 million gallons of water each day.

The cooperative water agency was first founded in the late 1980s when the villages of Lake Bluff, Gurnee, Grayslake, Mundelein, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Heights, and County of Lake founded the organization.

At that time, local well water was the major source of drinking water for these communities. JAWA delivered its first water to its member communities in 1992 after three years of constructing a raw water intake and pumping-filter plant on Rockland Road in Lake Bluff, along with a 32-mile network of distribution pipes and a second pumping station in Libertyville to send water to its member communities.

“Members wanted a reliable source of drinking water while being able to manage the pricing, quality and availability of the water supply from Lake Michigan,” Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor informed citizens in the January edition of the Grayslake Record, which is mailed to all residents.

In true democratic form, he said each member community has a policy voice by having one representative sit on the JAWA governing board, often its mayor, Taylor indicates.

He said while the population of Lake County has been growing, its water sales in central Lake County have recently declined through stringent EPA water conservation regulations and modern appliance technology.

Taylor said since there are fixed costs over years in processing and distributing the water to its members, new members will receive fresh water at a reasonable price while providing the necessary funding to maintain the water treatment facility.

Overhead support for its infrastructure while paying off the initial construction bonds has presented challenges to the JAWA Board. They decided to expand membership to spread existing costs.

Last year, the Board approved membership for Lake Villa and Lindenhurst, and also authorized service to additional unincorporated portions of Lake County such as Grandwood Park and Fox Lake Hills.

Water lines to these communities are currently being constructed and JAWA water will begin to flow in 2017. Pipeline and pumping construction costs will be borne by the respective communities, and each will additionally pay JAWA a one-time hookup fee of $2,800 per residential unit.

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