Bartlett making switch to Lake Michigan water Friday
After a final day of testing Bartlett's new Lake Michigan water system Thursday, the village is ready to shut down its decadeslong sources from local wells and the Fox River on Friday.
"We met the goal of pushing (Lake Michigan) water into Bartlett this week," Public Works Director Dan Dinges said.
In December 2016, the village board opted to become the 29th member of the DuPage Water Commission, which provides Lake Michigan water to the participants within its jurisdiction.
Thus began a $43.3 million project to build a pumping station, two 1.5-million-gallon storage tanks and a metering facility on the village's 24.5-acre public works campus.
"We've had great feedback from residents," Bartlett Village President Kevin Wallace said. "I've been here 25 years and I can't tell you how often residents have been concerned about our water quality."
An unexpected bonus to the change was learning real estate agents were beginning to market homes in the village on the basis of residents receiving Lake Michigan water, he said.
Wallace noted that the cost of the new system was nearly what Elgin officials said their price for providing Fox River water to Bartlett would have grown to.
Testing of the system began earlier this week. If the existing river and well sources are turned off Friday, it will take about another week before all residents and businesses in the village can confidently say they're using Lake Michigan water exclusively, Dinges said.
Village officials will lead a ceremonial valve-turning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at the public works campus, 1150 Bittersweet Drive.
Quality issues were key when the village board veered away from its original direction to renew its agreement with Elgin, which provided 60% of Bartlett's water supply, with the rest coming from local wells.
Lake Michigan water will be less prone to infrequent algae blooms like the one that caused temporary taste and odor issues to the Fox River supply in 2016, officials said.
The village plans to keep its wells operational as an emergency backup supply as long as the equipment lasts. But any need for major repairs in the future would be assessed for cost-effectiveness, Dinges said.
By then sufficient backup should be available from the interconnects Bartlett already has with Elgin, recently built with Streamwood and will soon have with Hanover Park, he said.
Bartlett also will continue to use its existing elevated water towers, and there may be need for another in three to five years, Dinges said.
Water rates in the village have gone up since the decision to switch water supplies but would have increased anyway even if the old system was continued, officials said.
In 2012, Bartlett residents paid $6.36 per 1,000 gallons of water. That price remained for five years, an unusual length of time that likely was the result of negotiations for a new contract with Elgin being in progress, Bartlett Assistant Village Manager Scott Skrycki said earlier this year.
On May 1, 2017, the rate went up to $7.64 per 1,000 gallons, and then it rose to $9.70 on May 1, 2018. In addition to the normal increase in water costs resuming, the higher rates also reflected the construction of the new infrastructure.
On May 1 this year, the rate increased to $11.76 per 1,000 gallons, for a total increase of $5.40 per $1,000 gallons, or 85 percent, since the village board decided to build the new system.