The village of Lyons has cut ties with the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission, with village officials deciding in June to buy its water from the village of McCook.
According to Robert Novotny, superintendent of the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission, while the village of Lyons’ system has been connected to McCook, it didn’t have the infrastructure in place until recently to make the switch.
“Now they feel McCook can handle them,” Novotny said.
Lyons Village President Christopher Getty told the Desplaines Valley News in early July that the move will save the village money.
“It got too expensive,” Getty was quoted as saying.
A significant determining factor, according to a Desplaines Valley News story published July 4, was a fee the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission has been charging its municipal customers to pay for the construction of a $17 million water supply main, which will give the commission a second supply line to Chicago.
The commission is charging member communities a fee of 8 cents per 1,000 gallons over the next 20 years to pay the debt service on a loan the commission received from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency for the project.
“We will not have a rate increase and this allows us some breathing room in our rates, which we will not have to pass on to our customers, our residents and our businesses,” Getty told the Desplaines Valley News.
The new 36-inch main runs from the West Side of Chicago through Oak Park and into Forest Park, where it connects with an existing commission supply line.
In addition to increasing the Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission’s system efficiency, said Novotny, the new supply main is an insurance policy. The commission’s current single 20-inch supply main was built in 1938.
“The system is aging,” Novotny said. “When you have a single-source water supply, if there’s a problem, it becomes a major problem.”
Novotny said construction of the new supply main, which began in 2016, is nearly complete. Work to finish the final 800 feet of the pipeline resumed in June after being halted at the request of Chicago Public Schools in the spring.
CPS didn’t want construction going on next to an elementary school along the route while classes were in session.
The water commission will lose about $300,000 in annual revenues by Lyons changing its water source, but that represents just a fraction of the commission’s revenues, said Novotny.
With the new water supply line making the system more efficient, said Novotny, the commission can reduce its costs enough to absorb the revenue loss.