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Article updated: 2/21/2013 4:53 PM

Lake Zurich approves drinking water well repairs

Mary Black, left, incumbent Suzanne Branding, center, and Trustee Tom Poynton, right, are candidates in the April 9 race for Lake Zurich mayor.

Mary Black, left, incumbent Suzanne Branding, center, and Trustee Tom Poynton, right, are candidates in the April 9 race for Lake Zurich mayor.

 
Lake Zurich officials have agreed to spend a maximum of nearly $105,000 for work on a deep well in a continuing effort to make sure the village’s drinking water system remains reliable.

Lake Zurich officials have agreed to spend a maximum of nearly $105,000 for work on a deep well in a continuing effort to make sure the village's drinking water system remains reliable.

 

Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2010

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Lake Zurich officials have agreed to spend a maximum of nearly $105,000 for work on a deep well in a continuing effort to make sure the village's drinking water system remains reliable.

Village board trustees at a meeting this week voted 5-0 in favor of Aurora-based Layne Christensen Co. performing the work on what's called Well No. 10. Layne Christensen is in the third year of a five-year contract to perform maintenance services on a rotation of five Lake Zurich wells that have an ion exchange water treatment process.

After the well is taken out of commission this year, Layne Christensen will pull a pumping assembly and column pipe to the surface for cleaning and inspection. Other work may include replacing up to 200 feet of pipe if it's deemed deteriorated, according to Lake Zurich Utility Superintendent Steve Schmitt.

"This type of maintenance is vital in order to keep wells functioning reliably and for the village's (drinking) water supply to meet peak demand and fire (hydrant) flow capacities," Schmitt said in a memo to village trustees, who didn't have any questions about the planned work when asked during Tuesday's meeting.

Layne Christensen will be paid $84,576 for the maintenance work and no more than an additional $20,000 for column pipe replacement.

Lake Zurich officials have been toying with the idea of replacing the wells by seeking a connection to a Lake Michigan drinking water supply. Last year, some board members said they wanted to put a referendum question on the November ballot asking whether voters would support borrowing $29 million through issuance of construction bonds to lay pipe necessary for lake water. However, the question never made it to the ballot.

Mayor Suzanne Branding and her two challengers in the April 9 election, Trustee Tom Poynton and Mary Black, have addressed the Lake Michigan water issue as part of the campaigns.

Black said she favors having Lake Michigan water because it may lead to an economic boost, and that voters should have been able to decide the issue in November. She contends the aging wells no longer are dependable.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has granted an allocation of Lake Michigan water to the village. Branding said the lake would be a good and viable water source for the village and that it's at a point where a decision must be made about what to do with the allocation.

"I would like to have a referendum on the issue," she said. "I was sorely disappointed that it did not get put on the ballot in November. But the numbers, the actual financials, were not ready."

Poynton said he also believes Lake Michigan water would benefit the village. However, he said, the issue can't be brought to the voters until village staff compiles solid financial information about what lake water would cost residents and businesses.

"We still can't go out and do the educational process we need to do," Poynton said. "We can't just go out and say, 'Hey, do you want Lake Michigan water?'"

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