Waterloo provided more insight into plans to build its own water treatment facility and leave Illinois American Water at the end of its current contract.
News of these plans were first reported in the Feb. 6 issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.
At the Feb. 4 council meeting, the city entered into an engineering agreement with HMG Inc. for design and bidding services for a 2-3.25 million gallon water treatment facility near Valmeyer.
Currently, Waterloo purchases its water from Illinois American Water. A 30-year contract with that provider ends Dec. 31, 2024. It was initially reported that this contract expired at the end of 2022.
With this contract set to expire soon, Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith and the city council began to explore future options.
“It has been decided to proceed with the option of building a city-owned water treatment facility because of the many benefits,” the city issued in a press release last week.
Some of these benefits, 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 news release stressed. “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 water treatment facility is estimated to cost $17 million, but until the facility’s design is complete and construction bids are received, a final cost is not known.
Funds for this new facility will be financed through a low-interest IEPA loan, the city said.
“The construction of this facility will not increase your taxes and, as previously stated, we do not anticipate a water rate increase due to the new plant,” the news release states.
The proposed water source for this new plant is the Mississippi Aquaphor just north of Valmeyer.
“Our goal is to place the treatment plant as close to the water source as possible, but not in the flood plain,” the release states.
As reported in our Feb. 6 issue, Waterloo 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.
“When Illinois American makes improvements in the distribution system, they share that cost throughout all their customers,” the city’s news release states. “If Waterloo has our own water treatment facility, the city would only pay for improvements and upgrades that affect our own system, giving a direct benefit.”
The new water treatment facility 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.
“Signing the engineering agreement is step one of many steps ahead – we are in the very early stages of this project,” the city stated. “Our end goal is to have the water treatment facility operational by the end date of the contract with Illinois American Water.”
If you don’t already receive the Republic-Times newspaper, click here or call 939-3814 to subscribe.