Lake Villa signs up for Lake Michigan water
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun September 26, 2012 7:20PM
Updated: November 26, 2012 2:22AM
LAKE VILLA — “We’re all in,” said Mayor Frank Loffredo, referring to a nonbinding agreement to join the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency to bring Lake Michigan water to the village.
“This option gives us water faster and at less cost compared to bringing lake water west with the original planning group,” Loffredo said. Lake Villa had joined an original group of nine municipalities as the North-West Lake County Lake Michigan Water Planning Group, securing allocations of Lake Michigan water from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources two years ago.
Planning group members have been leaving the group and looking at other options. “So many more variables were popping up, and that was a driving force for us to seek an alternative source for Lake Michigan water,” said Loffredo.
Lake Villa and Lindenhurst are seeking membership with CLCJAWA, joining Lake County as it seeks to bring lake water to the additional service areas of Grandwood Park and Fox Lake Hills.
Lake Villa officials see this as the most economical means to make the switch from well water to Lake Michigan water as the municipal water source.
“We are still researching funding mechanisms, looking at options including bonds and increasing water rates to fund construction costs. We want to do what is most economical for taxpayers to provide them a reliable and safe source of water for the future,” said Village Treasurer Lori Heitman.
This summer was a prelude of things to come, said Loffredo. “We do not face an immediate dire need because we have deep and shallow wells, unlike Lindenhurst, but we had to shut down wells this summer because they were pulling mud as a result of a drop in the water table.”
Lake Villa is served by a system of shallow and deep wells, with two elevated storage and one in-ground storage facility. The storage at least can be used when the village switches to Lake Michigan water, said Loffredo.
“This is a perfect opportunity to make the switch sooner rather than later. This is our window to get water and we can’t blink. If we do, we could lose our lake water allocation,” he said. “We have three years to make significant progress, at least to start construction, with the best case scenario in three years we could have water coming out of our taps from Lake Michigan.”
The next step is for CLCJAWA members, including Grayslake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lake Bluff, Mundelein, Round Lake and Round Lake Beach, to agree to bring in the additional service areas of Lindenhurst, Lake Villa, Fox Lake Hills and Grandwood Park.
The agreement with CLCJAWA would require proposed new members, including Lake Villa and Lake County as well as Lindenhurst, to fund the projected $40 million in construction costs and a $2,800 connection fee per housing unit.