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Local News

Okon: Website quenches thirst for Joliet water info

The Des Plaines River is one option that Joliet has crossed off its list of future water sources.
The Des Plaines River is one option that Joliet has crossed off its list of future water sources.

City Hall is taking the future of Joliet water seriously, and now you can, too.

The city last week launched a new website that is loaded with information about Joliet’s search for a future water source.

Click onto and you can follow along with the Joliet Environmental Commission as it looks elsewhere than the Ironton-Galesville aquifer from which the city now draws the groundwater that is delivered to residents and businesses.

It won’t take long for the average reader to get waterlogged with data reading through study topics on such matters as “State of Water in the World,” “Regional Water Supplies and Regional Water Planning Groups,” and “Water Quality Standards” – along with the many links to related reading.

The site also includes presentations made to the Joliet Environmental Commission, which is weighing options so the city can decide by the end of this year where it wants to go for water.

For those trying to get a quick grasp of the situation, there also is a frequently asked questions section summarizing the issues.

The website was created by Images Inc., a Naperville public relations firm hired for $15,000 to help Joliet get out the word about the pursuit of an alternative water source.

Janet Anderson, director of business development for Images Inc., noted at the Monday meeting of the Environmental Commission that people also can follow the Joliet water issue on Facebook and Twitter.

City representatives also plan to be at summer festivals and other events passing out information about the quest for a new source of water.

Not exactly a new issue

Joliet has been contemplating alternatives to groundwater since at least 1971 when the Public Water Commission was created.

The consortium of six municipalities – Joliet, Frankfort, Lockport, New Lenox, Rockdale and Romeoville – was created back then to explore going to the Kankakee River for a regional source of water.

The commission even acquired a parcel of land at the Kankakee River before becoming inactive, but it was never dissolved.

Former Joliet Utilities Director James Eggen resurrected the commission a couple of years ago, calling meetings where representatives from the six towns began talking again about the prospect of creating a regional water supplier.

The commission now is headed by Lockport City Administrator Ben Benson, former assistant city manager in Joliet.

The Public Water Commission will make a presentation in April to the Joliet Environmental Commission, which is considering the Kankakee River as one of the options for future water.

The last time Joliet seriously looked to the Kankakee River for water was in the early 2000s, when the city decided instead to upgrade its groundwater system.

Joliet also is considering the Illinois River and Lake Michigan as options.

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