More steps toward new water plant

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The Waterloo City Council approved more steps in the city’s plan to build its own water plant Monday night. 

First, the council OK’d the purchase of 27.62 acres of land in the area of 7800 Bluff Road from the Village of Valmeyer for $215,000. 

This land will be the well site for the city’s new water plant, Waterloo Public Works Director Tim Birk said. 

“This well will drill down into the aquifer to pump water to the plant,” Birk said.

In July 2019, Waterloo purchased 9.17 acres of land off East Hunters Ridge just east of Valmeyer village limits for the future site of the water treatment facility. 

The owners of that property were Bluffside Dairy Farm Inc., operated by the McNiel family, and the cost was $229,250. That purchase included 8,830 feet of easement both west and east of the future plant site for the installment of water line.

Also on Monday, the council approved a water service option agreement between the city and Valmeyer. Birk said this allows Valmeyer the option of going with another water service provider – including Waterloo – once its current contract with Fountain Water District is up on Dec. 31, 2034.

Birk said the new plant will be able to accommodate 3.5 million gallons per day. Presently, Waterloo uses about one million gallons per day.

“There’s going to be excess capacity,” Birk said.

The final agreement the council approved Monday as part of the new water plant is allowing Valmeyer the right of first refusal to buy back the well site property should Waterloo choose to remove the well or abandon the project. The term on this agreement is 40 years.

“Valmeyer has been a very good partner in this whole process,” Birk said.

These agreements were expected to be approved by the Valmeyer Village Board on Tuesday night. 

Waterloo announced plans in February 2019 to build its own water treatment facility and leave Illinois American Water, its current provider, at the end of the existing contract, which expires in October 2024.

Benefits of building its own facility, Birk has said, include more control over future water rates and a reduced likelihood of interruptions in service.

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.

Birk said the city is waiting for the IEPA loan, which is expected to take effect later this year or early in 2022.

After that, the city will go out for bids before construction of the plant, which is estimated to take about 12-14 months to complete. 

In other action Monday night, aldermen approved the annexation of 3.52 acres of property at 988 N. Illinois State Route 3, which is Human Support Services, into the city.

“With the continued growth that HSS has seen, both before the onset of the pandemic and currently, we constructed a new outbuilding to accommodate increasing operational and vehicle maintenance needs,” HSS Executive Director Anne Riley said of the annexation. “The need for additional city utility services became necessary at that point. All of these decisions were made in order to better serve our community.”

Lastly, the council approived a debt collection agreement between the city and Credit Collection Partners. This firm will attempt to collect unpaid ordinance violation fees dating back to 2001, which total $5,700. 

Waterloo Police Chief Jeff Prosise said the same firm collects court fines and fees for the Monroe County circuit clerk’s office.

Credit Collection Partners charges a 30 percent fee to the fine as part of doing business.

“I think it’s a good idea to do,” Prosise said.

The next council meeting takes place at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 on the second floor of City Hall.

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