Water resources studied in Lake Zurich
A survey of Lake Zurich residents regarding household water use and other water related issues is under way as part of a trendsetting effort to determine how the village can best manage its resources.
Pursuing Lake Michigan water to replace groundwater or finding more efficient ways to treat wastewater are among several strategies that could result from a unique study that has the support of major regional planning agencies.
"I prefer to think of us as a laboratory. We're going from theory to practice here," said village Trustee Rich Sustich, who has had a long career in water-related issues.
In simple terms, the effort will combine issues regarding drinking water, stormwater and waste water into a single integrated water resources.
"There's never been a cohesive integrated plan of how this works together," said David Heyden, the village's public works director.
When complete, the village and the region would have a blueprint of how to conserve supplies, reduce costs and guide future decisions.
"You hear a lot about (being) green," Sustich said, "but how do you do it?" The study is a joint effort between the village and the Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, as well as the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension.
"We thought it would be helpful to do a pilot project in the region," said Danielle Gallet, the point person on the project for the CNT.
Lake Zurich was chosen, in part, because it is facing important decisions, ranging from the source of drinking water to strategies to reduce local flooding.
More than a dozen experts in engineering, science, land use, planning and economics are compiling information on a volunteer basis for the technical portion of the project.
The information should tell the village how it can use water more responsibly. That would include areas such as recycling wastewater and stormwater for other uses.
"What we hope to gain out of this is a set of best management practices and goals," Heyden said. "They're going to give us a list of recommendations and guidance tools for the future, basically to make the community more sustainable."
Stakeholders with wide ranging interests will meet, and a public forum on the findings tentatively is scheduled for fall.
In the interim, residents have been asked in notices on water bills and on the village website to take a 30-question multiple choice survey. That survey is available at http://svy.mk/lzwater and responses will be taken through August.
"We want to hear from the community -- what are their thoughts and reasons and desires about how they manage their water resources," Gallet said.