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Great Lakes Article:

Lake Michigan water issue delayed
By Mick Zawislak
Daily Herald (IL)
Published October 29th, 2004

Providing Lake Michigan water to about 500 families east of Libertyville may be possible, the agency in charge of the system says, but more research is needed.

The Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency deferred action on the request Wednesday. The agency asked its executive committee to examine supply problems and the cost for the residents to hook onto the Green Oaks system.

The decision followed a lengthy discussion about providing water outside the agency's service area.

"It's always been an issue of capacity," said Libertyville Mayor Duane Laska, who chairs the water agency board. "We're just looking to make a decision, and to make a good decision, you have to have all the facts."

Lake County, a member of the joint action water agency, requested about 100,000 gallons of water per day to residents in the Countryside Manor, Libertyville Estates, Ashford Trails and Terre Fair subdivisions.

Radium has been found in the well water, and the county, as the operator, has to have a new system installed by April 2006. The joint action water agency pumps about 20 million gallons of water a day, which would hardly dent the supply, the county says.

The request was denied in the spring but was reconsidered after the county compiled a new analysis of demand based on growth and population.

On peak demand days, which occur a few times every couple of years, Lake County says the system would have 6.7 million gallons to spare. Agency estimates made in 1996 showed a deficit of 4.6 million gallons, but the estimates are getting updated.

"We need to get to the bottom line. Do we have 6 million gallons of extra capacity or are we short 4 million?" asked Laska.

The agency has a contractual obligation to its members, he said, and if it is short, needs to find ways to address the problem, such as greater storage capacity, for example.

According to water agency rules, areas that annex into a member community are automatically accepted into the system. The county is a special case because it included only some of its water systems when it joined the agency, and so it needs board approval to extend service to any part of the system.

Several options have been considered for the subdivisions near Libertyville, but the joint action water agency option is the most cost-effective.

Green Oaks, which gets its lake water from Waukegan, has offered to supply the residents, but it would come at a premium price, according to the county.

A majority of board members said they supported the county's request if studies showed it could be done.

"I'd like to have a few more of the technical questions answered and verified," said Grayslake Mayor Tim Perry. "I'm in favor of doing this."

The board voted 9-0 to send the matter to the executive committee, which is scheduled to make its report in December.

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