By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
As village officials power through the paperwork to get the budget in order, some important projects are starting to take place.
One project in particular looks to overhaul the water and sewer service in the village’s historic Village Green area of downtown, in a plan set to cover a two-year period
Village staff presented an extensive list of engineering items to board members during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Feb. 27.
“This would be a complete reconstruction in terms of all the water, sewer, and storm sewer utilities, an upgrade in street lighting in that area, and then replacement of all the sidewalks, curb, gutter, storm sewer and roadway,” said Director of Public Works Allen Persons. “In essence, when you break down the entire list… the total cost estimate is approximately $6.5 million to do that entire segment, all those components.”
The overhaul is necessary due to the aging infrastructure in the area.
One issue, however, is how deal with the lead service lines brining water into homes.
“This is already a concern with the EPA, there’s already some new regulation that’s just recently passed down in Springfield, it will probably be regulation passed in Washington, D.C. as well,” Persons said. “What we foresee is a requirement to phase in the replacement of all of our lead service lines over a period of time.”
Persons said there are between 97 and 126 lead service lines leading into peoples’ homes. The reason that the number isn’t nailed down exactly, Persons said, is because of various replacements that have been completed over the years. During those replacements, some homeowners opted to put a copper service line from their buffalo box into their homes, while others did not. In order to get an exact number of which homes still have lead lines running from the buffalo box to the home, the village would need to conduct in-home inspections.
“We believe that’s best done as part of the design of the system,” Persons said.
In previous talks, village board members have discussed taking on the full cost of replacing the lines all the way up to homes, rather than have homeowners be responsible for the replacement from the Buffalo box into their residences. However, Persons said that staff research indicates that future legislation will require a copper pipe all the way into homes. If those copper lines aren’t installed, the village might be on the hook for an extensive lead-testing program in the area. That research has prompted neighboring communities to take on the full cost of the replacement all the way up to homes, just to guarantee the work is completed properly.
“It’s the trend,” Persons said. “If this moves forward, we’re going to disrupt this entire area for approximately two years. To provide the service line into the home is a minor amount in the full picture. I just think that it’s the right thing to do.”
Persons said that portion of the line, from Buffalo box to home, would cost approximately $1,000 per home.
The two-year plan is still being discussed by the village board, and likely won’t be approved until the new board is sworn into place after the election.
“This year, what we budgeted was money for engineering for actual survey work out there for the inspection … to get a really good game plan and a cost estimate,” Persons said. “Hopefully, if the board wishes to move forward with this project, then in 2018 we would complete the installation of the new utilities and the all new water sewer, storm sewer, and service lines, replace all the lead service lines. Then in 2019 we would complete the roadway work, street lighting, and the sidewalks.”
The village is expected to approve the budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year by next month. The new fiscal year begins on May 1.