Reality Check: $66 million water system overhaul to impact rural communities

$66 million water system overhaul to impact rural communities (WICS)

Its one of the largest and most expensive projects in decades for Macoupin and Jersey Counties. Its a complete overhaul of a major water system, expected to cost $66 million.

Debbie Deck just received a kidney transplant. Her doctors say the water she uses out of her home in Carlinville, must be as fresh as fresh as possible.

"They have a lot of concerns about the quality of water here an its been going on for quite a few years," Deck said.

Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio says managing city water usage has been a nightmare since she took office.

Their water supply comes straight from the Illinois River.

"Every time it rains, we have manganese and a number of things that we have to deal with and its very costly," Demuzio said.

The city of Carlinville spends about $50,000 each year in agents to ensure water is as clean as possible. Mayor Demuzio says dry summer months means water is less plenty.

"It kept me up at night thinking about it," Demuzio said.

The money will go to help a newly formed regional water system with Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company, Inc.

The funds will be used in the construction of a new 4 MGD lime softening water treatment plant, new water supply field, 47 miles of transmission main, meter stations, and other accessories as needed.

"Once that water is pulled out from the wells, it'll be pumped to a treatment plant on the bluff," said consulting engineer Max Middendorf.

Illinois Alluvial Regional Water Company, Inc. will provide bulk water to the communities of Carlinville, Dorchester and Bunker Hill as well as the rural water distribution systems of Jersey County Rural Water Company and Central Macoupin County Rural Water District.

As far as paying for the project, Demuzio says taxpayers should not be concerned.

"We put a 2-percent automatic increase on water bills each year to support infrastructure," Demuzio said. "That will be for infrastructure. We hope that we would not have to raise any water rates."

According to a press release, the regional water system will alleviate the health and sanitary issues some entities have with their current water source. The project will impact a multi-county area that can ultimately provide for long-term savings over individually completed projects.

Construction is expected to be complete this fall.

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