Brookfield village trustees on June 11 voted unanimously to commission Hancock Engineering, its municipal civil engineering firm, to survey the village’s water delivery system and create a computer model to determine how it reacts to changes or would react to changes in the future.

The study is separate from a recent leak-detection survey conducted this spring and focuses on improving water flow and pressure and can determine whether the system is capable of handling future large-scale development.

“Information about the strain such things would put on the system or what’s needed in the future, we’re kind of guessing, because we don’t have the model in place,” said Brookfield Public Works Director Amy Wagner.

Wagner, a civil engineer, said she used water system modeling extensively during her 11 years in the city of Lockport, which saw extensive development during that time. 

As Brookfield seeks to push redevelopment at places like DuBois Boulevard and Burlington Avenue, at the Brookfield Bowl site or in downtown Brookfield, a water system model would help the village understand the impact such developments would have on the water system.

“Can the water system provide adequate fire flows?” asked Derek Treichel of Hancock Engineering of a proposed residential development at Burlington and DuBois. “If not, we can model what we need to do.”

Such a computer model would also be able to let village officials know if they need to undertake an expensive repair to a 6-inch water main on Prairie Avenue at the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad crossing, which broke during the winter.

The water main passed underneath the railroad tracks, one of several such water-main crossings under the tracks. The village was unable to restore the main and chose to simply cap both ends to close the system. Repairing it would require boring a new hole under the tracks and inserting a new pipe, a job that officials estimate would cost $100,000 or more.

“It will allow us to determine if we can get by without the [Prairie water main] crossing or should we move that [water main] crossing to another location that’s better, hydraulically?” Treichel said.

The village board awarded Hancock Engineering a $23,800 contract to build the computer model and then conduct field testing to verify the model once it’s built. It’ll take about four months to build the model of the village’s 60-mile long water service system, Treichel said.

“The model will be useful for 10-plus years,” Treichel said. “If the village adds another 5,000 feet to the system, it’s not that expensive to update the model and run scenarios in the future.”