Mount Prospect exploring 'second straw' into Lake Michigan water

Mount Prospect is partnering with the Northwest Water Commission to explore the possibility of tapping into a backup source for Lake Michigan water.

Last week, the village board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the commission to share design engineering costs for a possible interconnection for the emergency water system.

Consulting engineers Burns & McDonnell will perform the work at a cost not to exceed $203,000.

Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said the additional connection "would give us access to another straw into Lake Michigan water."

The Des Plaines-based Northwest Water Commission has its water pumped to it and treated by Evanston.

Mount Prospect currently receives water from the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (JAWA), which gets its water from Chicago.

Dorsey said the scope of the work will prepare the project for a public bidding, including permits, plans and specifications. It also will include identifying the spot for the interconnection, he said, but not construction engineering or construction costs.

Dorsey told the village board three possible locations have been identified for the connection: Wheeling Road and Kensington Road; Emerson Street and Highland Street; and Elmhurst Avenue and Kensington Road.

That third location could loop in JAWA as a third party.

"In that case, it could be a scenario where Northwest Water could give JAWA water. JAWA could give Northwest water. And they could both give us water," he said.

Trustee Richard Rogers said the proposed interconnect is "the most important thing" the village can do.

"This would guarantee us two complete sources of water," he said. "So, if either one of them shuts down, we still have the other one. And if we do the connection and get JAWA involved in it, that, I think, would benefit not only us, it would benefit JAWA and would also benefit all the other communities down the line."

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