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DuPage Water Commission makes pitch to Joliet

Joliet is exploring alternatives to its current source of groundwater.
Joliet is exploring alternatives to its current source of groundwater.

The Joliet commission exploring future water supplies heard this week from a future supplier as the city steps up its campaign to inform the public of the need to find a new source of water.

The website RethinkWaterJoliet.org was launched Wednesday, outlining the city plan to find a replacement by 2030 for the aquifer that now supplies Joliet water.

On Tuesday, the Joliet Environmental Commission, which will make a recommendation on the future water source, heard the first of several presentations from prospective suppliers.

The DuPage Water Commission made its case for building a 29-mile pipeline to carry Lake Michigan water from its pumping station in Elmhurst to Joliet.

“If Joliet decided to take Lake Michigan water, you’d be getting the highest quality sustainable,” John Spatz, general manager for the DuPage Water Commission, told the Joliet panel. “We have the ability to get this project done.”

The DuPage Water Commission delivers Lake Michigan water to 28 customers, most of them municipalities, in DuPage County.

The commission is adding its 29th customer, the village of Bartlett, in June. A 5.5-mile pipeline costing $13.5 million has been built to deliver water to Bartlett.

The DuPage Water Commission is the state’s second largest water system, said its chairman, Jim Zay.

Zay said the commission is expanding and is meeting with other municipalities outside of DuPage County.

“You’re not the only other agency we’ve been talking with,” he said. “We’ve talked with Montgomery and some other people, too.”

The DuPage Water Commission buys water from Chicago and distributes to its customers from the pumping station in Elmhurst. It was the first prospective supplier to make a presentation to the Joliet Environmental Commission.

Two other suppliers of Lake Michigan water are under consideration – the city of Chicago and the Southland Water Agency.

The Joliet panel next month will hear proposals from the city of Chicago and the Public Water Commission, a Will County entity created in the 1970s with the idea of some day supplying regional water from the Kankakee River.

Joliet also is considering getting water from the Illinois River.

City officials plan to decide on the future supplier by the end of this year.

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