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posted: 7/2/2014 5:30 AM

Bartlett weighs options on water suppliers

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  • Video: Engineer on Bartlett Water

 
 

Bartlett homeowners and businesses could get all of their drinking water from Elgin's treatment plant, under a proposal before the village board.

Elgin's facility, which taps the Fox River, provides more than half of Bartlett's water supply -- an average of 2 million gallons per day. The rest comes from village-owned wells.

As the clock runs out on a 35-year contract with Elgin, Bartlett has hired Christopher B. Burke Engineering to study alternative sources, including Lake Michigan water. But officials say shutting down the village wells and drawing solely from Elgin's plant comes with the cheapest price tag.

The pact with the city expires in 2019. Under terms of the deal, officials have to let Elgin know this year whether the village will change suppliers.

But in informal talks with its neighbor, Elgin is willing to lower fees, Bartlett officials say. The village currently pays the city about $4.5 million a year.

"If the village of Bartlett is purchasing more water, then they should be getting a bigger discount," said Christopher Burke, president of the Rosemont-based engineering firm. "They become more of a player."

Several of Bartlett's neighbors -- Hanover Park and Streamwood -- are part of a consortium of Cook County towns that buys Lake Michigan water from Chicago. The cost of joining the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency -- including financing major infrastructure projects -- could reach $51.3 million over a decade, according to Burke's analysis.

Elgin, though, is equipped to provide an extra 1 million gallons per day to Bartlett, officials say. Within 10 years, the consultant recommended the village invest in several improvements as the town grows -- building a new storage tank, for instance -- at an estimated cost of roughly $4.9 million.

"We're anticipating, as our industrial growth continues, based on the kinds of businesses we're getting in our industrial park, we will use more water and perhaps a significant amount more," Village Administrator Valerie Salmons told the board Tuesday.

Trustees plan to revisit the proposal and the effect on residents' water bills at the July 29 board meeting.

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