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Lindenhurst agrees to tap IEPA for lakewater project

Water Tower. | Dave Bartman~Sun-Times Media

Water Tower. | Dave Bartman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 11, 2013 1:59AM

Lindenhurst is moving one step closer to bringing Lake Michigan water to the village by officials agreeing to seek a low- interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for village improvements connected to the project.

Lindenhurst has a tentative agreement with Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency to bring Lake Michigan water to the village.

Village officials hope to have its membership in CLCJAWA secured by early summer, but are seeking the low-interest loan now following the recent announcement that $1 billion is available for clean water projects through the IEPA.

“That is why we are going through the pre-application process now to secure low-interest money for this project. We are not obligated to accept the loan, but we want to be proactive in securing it,” said Village Administrator Matthew Formica.

Lindenhurst, Lake Villa and Lake County are requesting membership in the Lake Bluff-based agency that provides Lake Michigan water to Grayslake, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lake Bluff, Mundelein, Round Lake and Round Lake Beach.

Lindenhurst could be on-line with Lake Michigan water as early as 2015.

“This looks like the best and most economical of options to bring Lake Michigan water to Lindenhurst,” said Mayor Susan Lahr when village officials made the decision to joint CLCJAWA last month. “CLCJAWA offers a world-class product that we can access more quickly than the other options.”

Formica said the IEPA loan rate is 2 percent compared to a 5 percent interest rate if the village issued bonds to fund the village water system improvements.

“We are seeking this as a way to fund the local costs,” including internal improvements to the village water system and a pumping station. The action taken was to approve developing a project plan to fund the internal improvements that need to be made as part of the loan application process.

“Clearly, that would be a significant savings to the village,” said Lahr.

Village officials will move forward with public meetings in early 2013 to explain the multi-million dollar project to convert the municipal well water system to Lake Michigan water to serve 4,800 residential water customers and at the same time extend water lines to accommodate 261 homes on private wells.

“We want to provide people with the opportunity to connect to the municipal system if they so choose. We know there are some residents who are satisfied with their wells, but others are having trouble. The village has committed to spending $1 million to extend water mains to those residences with private wells,” said Formica.

Residents now on private wells will not be required to hook up to the municipal system, but if they do sooner rather than later they may be given a break on costs they will have to pay to run a water line to their home, estimated to cost between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the distance from the water main to their home.

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