Lake Villa, Lindenhurst prepare for Lake Michigan water extension

The steps in the multiyear quest to bring Lake Michigan water to some Lake County communities are getting bigger and the work will be getting more noticeable.

Lake County, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst either have approved or will approve a change in their agreement to provide proportionate shares of up to $2 million to the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency for costs related to the $46 million project.

The payments will be used for easements in which to locate the water transmission line, and will come from an increase in property taxes to 11,000 properties in the special service area created to fund the project. The added tax on a property valued at $200,000 is estimated at $230 per year.

A significant amount of design work has been ongoing to bring Lake Michigan water to Lake Villa and Lindenhurst, as well as Grandwood Park and Fox Lake Hills, which are unincorporated areas served by the county.

"It's overdue. It's necessary," said county board member Steve Carlson, a Grandwood Park resident, who was among those voting Tuesday to approve the change to the agreement.

Construction is envisioned to encompass several legs and the project has been divided into four separate bid packages, with the opening of the first one scheduled for Jan. 22.

Communities already have begun preparing for that work. Last fall, for example, 8,560 feet of 16-inch water main was installed in Lindenhurst.

"We completed the first phase of internal system improvements," Village Administrator Matt Formica said. On Monday night, the village board approved the change in the agreement, as well as the intent to award bids for the next stage of work in town. That involves installation of more water mains, construction of a pumping station and a 1 million-gallon storage facility.

Those projects are considered key parts of the necessary internal water system improvements, Formica said.

Today, Lake Villa officials will approve the agreement, as well as bids for continuing work. The village already has replaced three water mains. Work to connect the village's two water systems, provide more storage and upgrade its water facilities building is expected to begin in early spring, according to Village Administrator Karl Warwick.

Local costs in Lake Villa will be about $6.5 million, which are in addition to the cost of the main supply line, he added.

Lake Villa and Lindenhurst about two years ago became members of the Lake Bluff-based Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency, which supplies Lake Michigan water to 12 communities. Lake County already was a member.

Residents eventually will see a hike in water rates when Lake Michigan water begins to flow, expected in late 2017.

The project originally included nine entities that in early 2011 were granted Lake Michigan water allocations by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, but many are pursuing other supply options.


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Crews last fall install a 16-inch water main in Lindenhurst as the village prepares its water distribution system to accept Lake Michigan water. Courtesy of Village of Lindenhurst
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