Waterloo buys water plant land

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Waterloo made a big step in the future of its water service last week by purchasing land for a new water treatment plant to be built near Valmeyer.

At its July 1 meeting, the Waterloo City Council approved the purchase of 9.17 acres off East Hunters Ridge just east of Valmeyer village limits. 

The owners of this property were Bluffside Dairy Farm Inc., operated by the McNiel family.

The cost of the land purchase was $229,250, according to Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk, and includes 8,830 feet of easement both west and east of the future plant site for the installment of water line.

The next step in the process, Birk said, will be to talk to property owners and acquire easements for the eventual water line over the next few months.

“We hope to break ground late next year,” Birk said.

Waterloo announced plans in February to build its own water treatment facility and leave Illinois American Water, its current provider, at the end of the existing contract.

That contract expires Dec. 21, 2022.

The city has entered into an engineering agreement with HMG Inc. for the new 2-3.25 million gallon per day water treatment facility.

Birk said the Waterloo is currently a 1 million gallon per day user and this new facility will accommodate future growth. 

Benefits of building its own facility, according to the city, include more control over future water rates and a reduced likelihood of interruptions in service.

“There is no anticipated water rate increase due to the construction of this new facility,” the city stressed in a news release earlier this year. “In fact, once the 20-year loan is paid-off, the water rates would be significantly reduced from the projected future rate if we continued to purchase water from Illinois American.”

The estimated total cost of the water treatment facility project is estimated at $17 million. Funds for the new facility will be financed through a low-interest IEPA loan, the city said.

The proposed water source for this new plant is the Mississippi Aquaphor just north of Valmeyer.

As previously reported, Waterloo officials said the city does not receive credit for owning and operating its own system and pays the same rates as those Illinois American owns and operates their water distribution system.

The new water plant would have a generator back-up and will be connected directly to the water distribution system, the city says, which will reduce the likelihood of interruptions in water service to customers and reduce system wide boil orders.

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