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posted: 9/7/2012 5:00 AM

Sanitary district has broad, diverse mission

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Recent articles about the North Shore Sanitary District's (NSSD) annexation procedures and how residents pay for the district's services painted an incomplete picture of the NSSD's mission.

The NSSD is a regional wastewater treatment agency with responsibilities to both our customers and the larger community. Our main mission is treating 50 million gallons of wastewater daily from 315,000 people and thousands of businesses in 17 eastern Lake County communities. Our other major duty is protecting our environment by keeping sewage out of local waterways, including Lake Michigan, which benefits everyone, regardless of whether they are connected to a sewer system.

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The NSSD does not actively annex properties, but only acts upon requests from either individual property owners or from a municipality to annex multiple properties. Regarding the 400 homes in Gurnee's Glen Flora neighborhood, the village prepared a plat of annexation and submitted it to the district on Oct. 22, 1998. The area depicted on this document is what was subsequently annexed.

Once a property is annexed, it is immediately eligible to receive the NSSD's services. However, individual communities are responsible for constructing and operating local sanitary sewer collection systems. The NSSD in turn receives wastewater through interceptor pipes that discharge to treatment plants in Gurnee, Waukegan and Highland Park.

The district's capital construction projects are financed by property taxes paid by all property owners within the NSSD, regardless of whether they are connected to their municipal sewer system. The district is funded like public education: all citizens contribute, irrespective of whether they have children attending school.

If a property owner within the district decides to utilize our services, we must be ready when they connect to accept the additional load by insuring that treatment capacity is available in advance. In 1977, the NSSD established an annexation fee for incoming users to guarantee that existing facility costs were equally shared, and ensure that the district provide high-quality wastewater treatment services while protecting our environment.

Brian Dorn, General Manager, North Shore Sanitary District

Waukegan

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