Why South Barrington is investigating getting drinking water from Lake Michigan

  • South Barrington officials are considering hooking up to a system that would provide drinking water from Lake Michigan.

    South Barrington officials are considering hooking up to a system that would provide drinking water from Lake Michigan. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 9/15/2023 4:23 PM

A plan to provide South Barrington homes and businesses with drinking water from Lake Michigan is in the works.

The village board on Thursday agreed to extend a contract with a firm investigating whether dumping the current well-based system in favor of water from the lake is feasible.


The extension will allow a Chicago engineering firm, Greeley and Hansen, to continue its preliminary research, which will give village officials more information about what is needed to connect to the lake, Village Administrator Robert Palmer said.

The board is considering joining the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency, a consortium of Cook County towns that buys Lake Michigan drinking water from Chicago.

South Barrington officials are eyeing that system because it already serves nearby suburbs along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, Palmer said.

South Barrington's current water system serves about 400 homes west of Bartlett Road, the Arboretum of South Barrington shopping center and other customers, Palmer said.

Homes elsewhere in town have their own wells.

Officials began talking about providing Lake Michigan water late last year so they have an alternative water source if the aquifer in which the wells were dug develop issues, Palmer said.

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Having Lake Michigan water supply also is good for future development in town, Palmer said.

"The village is doing its due diligence in considering this as a future alternative," Palmer said.

No long-term timeline was available.

"Considering Lake Michigan water is obviously a big project (and) will take time to plan," Palmer said.

The contract extension approved Thursday gives the engineering firm an extra 60 days to do its work. It will cost the village $13,000.

The original contract was for $13,000, too, Palmer said.

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