Public Drinking Water Supply Decision
The Village of Channahon relies on groundwater aquifers as the source of its drinking water, as do many of our neighboring communities. However, modeling done of our aquifers by the Illinois State Water Survey (link) indicates that our current water source is not sustainable and is set to be depleted in the coming decades.
Switching to a new water source involves significant improvements and additions to our water system along with regulatory approvals that will take years to accomplish. If the Village does not act soon, it runs the risk of higher costs and limited options regarding a source for our drinking water.
This has been a multi-year process including tremendous research. Through this research the Village has found that excessive de-icing and salt usage across urban Chicagoland is causing chlorides in shallow aquifers to rise. Additionally, water in the aquifers is being depleted quicker than rainwater can replenish it. This decision is not easy but is vitally necessary to ensure the water needs of Channahon residents and the viability of our community into the future.
The Village has compared the costs and benefits of treating and using Kankakee River water or Illinois River water versus joining a Regional Water Commission to receive Lake Michigan water as its future source. Most importantly, the Village is weighing the long-term prospects and sustainability of a new water source and how it impacts the overall future of the Village.
Following all of this research, evaluation and the resulting similarity in costs between options, the Village is considering switching to Lake Michigan water.
Should the Village join the Regional Water Commission and switch to Lake Michigan water, the Village would be partnering with surrounding communities to provide high quality, sustainable drinking water to our current and future residents. Water rate increases will be necessary over time to account for things such as connecting to the Lake Michigan water system, additional water storage facilities and other improvements; but, water rate increases will be necessary regardless of which decision the Board of Trustees lands on. No matter what, a new water source does mean rate increases over time.
The Village is looking to finalize its decision on the future public water supply no later than the end of February 2022.
Please check back to this page regularly for further updates and more information as it is available.
- Can we join the Regional Water Commission at a later date?
No. We will not have an option to join the Regional Water Commission if we do not act now.
- If the Village does not join the Regional Water Commission, what happens to the residents east of I-55 that currently receive water the Village purchases from Joliet?
The Village would either install watermain to connect them to the water system supplied by Village wells or could elect to apply for a Lake Michigan water allocation and continue to purchase water from Joliet.
- What improvements would be made to the water system if the Village joins the Regional Water Commission (RWC)?
Joining the RWC would require us to have additional storage capacity/tanks, as well as additional water mains in the ground to distribute water across town.
- If the Village joins the Regional Water Commission, how is water allocated? Can that allocation amount be adjusted over time, or is it a limited amount?
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources regulates water allocation. Allocation is based on projected average daily demands, and increases in demand are factored in. The allocation amounts would be reviewed every 10 years to ensure communities are receiving the appropriate water amounts and applicable increases. Allocation can be adjusted to account for growth as well.
- In the event of a disruption in service from the Regional Water Commission, would the Village be able to use its existing wells for a water source?
Yes, the Village will retain and maintain its existing wells which can be used in the event of an emergency. Additional water storage requirements will allow us to keep Lake Michigan water reserves in the event of a disruption of service.
- What is the cost of joining the Regional Water Commission? What is the cost to use and treat Illinois River water?
The cost to join the Regional Water Commission and all improvements necessary and use Lake Michigan water would be approximately $75.6 million (in 2020 dollars).
The cost to use and treat Illinois River water and all improvements necessary, including the cost to build and operate a new water treatment plant, would be approximately $85.3 million (in 2020 dollars).
- What treatment and/or maintenance would the Village need to do on water from Lake Michigan?
Lake Michigan water is naturally a relatively clean source of drinking water. After treatment by the City of Chicago and delivery to the commission members, commission members would be responsible for some additional minor chemical treatment of the water, as well as the maintenance of their internal infrastructure system and improvements.
- Is there a possibility that experts are wrong on the timeline for the aquifers to be depleted?
The ability to analyze groundwater data and depletion rates is very advanced. The predictions by the experts at the Illinois State Water Survey are considered very accurate. Click on the attached link for more information.
- Have all surrounding communities committed to joining the Regional Water Commission?
There are five communities still in the decision making process: Channahon, Lemont, Minooka, Romeoville and Shorewood. Crest Hill and Joliet have officially formalized their decision to join the RWC at this point in time, while all other communities are in the process of finalizing their decisions to join the RWC. Each community has until the end of February 2022 to formalize their choice.
- What will happen to the homes that are currently on wells?
Homes that are on existing wells will remain on wells as is presently the case within the Village. Should a resident currently on a well wish to connect to the Village water system, now or in the future, connection procedures and fees are found in our municipal codes at www.channahon.org. Inquiries regarding the availability of Village water and connection to the Village water system can also be addressed by calling the Public Works Department at 815-467-6644.
- If the Village joined the Regional Water Commission, when would we begin receiving Lake Michigan water? When would residents notice a change in their water rates?
January 1, 2030 is the anticipated date for delivery and use of Lake Michigan water. The water rate change schedule is still yet to be determined and should be finalized over the next year. Conceptual water rates comparing water source options studied can found via the attached link at www.channahon.org.
- What other advantages of using Lake Michigan as a water source are there?
One additional advantage of Lake Michigan over our existing groundwater supply is that Lake Michigan water is naturally at a hardness level most people find unnecessary to treat with a water softener. This eliminates the initial cost of a water softener and the continuing expense of salt for use in the softener. Lake Michigan water is also much easier on plumbing fixtures than softened water.
Village of Channahon Public Water Source Forum
The Village of Channahon held two public forums on the future of the Village's water supply on Tuesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 13 at Village Hall.
To view handouts from the meetings, please click here (link).
Please see recordings of each of the meetings below.