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Mayor: Water Plant Improvements Are Overdue

In light of the recent ban on all outdoor water use, Mayor Nancy Rotering says the time is now to upgrade the water plant.

As you may know, effective July 5, 2012, City Manager David Knapp instituted a  until further notice.

Hand watering (watering cans, hand-held hoses) is still permitted. The ban is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Please turn off automatic sprinkler systems to avoid a fine or water shut-off (Highland Park City Code Sec. 50.010) for sprinkler ban violations, and help reduce water production peaks by using high volume water appliances (washing machines, dish washers) during off-peak hours (before noon and after 6 p.m.).

Overdue infrastructure improvements at our water treatment plant combined with extreme heat and multiple days of insufficient rainfall mean that our plant has come close to exceeding capacity on numerous days over the last few weeks. Exceeding water plant capacity is prohibited under state and federal law. It also puts our water quality and supply, your public health and safety at risk. This is not an option.

Our capacity is 21 million gallons per day. The City Manager works closely with staff at the water treatment plant to determine how to best meet our water needs. The chart to the right illustrates our water treatment production since June 15, when we first instituted the sprinkler restrictions. You can see how closely we have come to exceeding capacity in the 21 days since the restrictions have been set.

The water treatment plant was built in 1929 with recurrent capacity and deferred maintenance issues over the last few years. Consideration of plans to upgrade the plant have been underway and the time has come to make the decision that will best meet our needs both now and for the future.  

On Monday night, July 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm at City Hall in the pre-session room, we will continue the conversation about our long-planned water treatment plant upgrade project, which includes adding capacity. Please join us. This meeting is open to the public.

For more information or questions, please call the City Manager's Office at847-926-1000.

Nancy Rotering
Highland Park Mayor

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Bryce Robertson July 08, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Isn't it accurate that we supply five or six other municipalities with water from our water treatment plant? If so, shouldn't we look at wholesale rate increases to those other communities to help support a revamp of the plant?
mike belsky July 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
With due respect Mayor Rotering the water plant expansion was designed and costed out more than a year ago. Also rate adjustments and a new contract with wholesale customers were negotiated as well to cover the costs of plant expansion. For whatever reason this whole project was put on hold. Given the weather event and the construction schedule the ban may have been needed no matter what the status of the project. However, the staff and professionals came up with a plan using micro filtration which minimized the scope of the project and recommended commencing the project a year ago. This was after numerous briefings with the Council. Leadership requires making things happen for the good of the community particularly on life safety matters such as water. I agree this project is overdue and I hope you can overcome any log jam that may have occurred at the Council level to stop this well thought out expansion a year ago. We are lucky to be in a deflationary environment as the wait could have cost taxpayers extra in a different environment. Repsectfully submitted, Mike

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