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Great Lakes Article:

Water, water everywhere but some still from wells
By Deborah Laverty
Northwest Indiana Times

MERRILLVILLE -- Tapping into Lake Michigan water for Mike Atwood will soon be as easy as turning on a faucet inside his Independence Hill subdivision home.

"I'm looking forward to it," Atwood said.

It's been a long wait.

Atwood has lived in Merrillville for more than 25 years and he and his family have relied on a private well as their source of water.

Not that he's complaining.

He said he's not had a lot of problems with his well water and will continue to use it for such things as watering his lawn and washing his car.

Atwood is hoping that tying into Lake Michigan water will add to the property values in his neighborhood and he won't have to use water softeners to the extent he does now.

"We moved in here in 1975 and have well water right now ... I hope that getting Lake Michigan water will increase the resale of my house. A lot of people don't want anything to do with well water," Atwood said.

Town Councilman Joe Shudick, D-3rd, who represents the Independence Hill area, said the area where Atwood and his family live was identified three years ago as in need of Lake Michigan water due to a lack of quality water and for fire protection.

Shudick, a volunteer firefighter, worked to get a grant so that two more fire hydrants could be installed at Marshall and Independence streets.

" We couldn't do it without grants. It would strap us for years," Shudick said.

The $500,000 grant for the Independence Hill project was funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Residents in a four-block area, from 78th Avenue to U.S. 30 and along Marshall and Independence streets, will soon be going from well water to water provided by the Indiana American Water Co., Shudick said.

The project, which is being completed by Hobart-based Boyd Construction Co., is approximately two-thirds completed, he said.

"There are still several areas of town that don't have water," Shudick said.

Town Manager Rick DalCorobbo said that town officials applied in early May for two more federal grants, to be earmarked for water installation, and have not heard back from officials.

He said a study conducted four years ago showed there are still approximately 10 areas throughout town that have well water instead of Lake Michigan water.

The cost to pay for the entire town to hook up to Lake Michigan water has been estimated at close to $3 million.

As grants become available, town officials will continue to address those needs, DalCorobbo said. "We're trying to attack each one the best we can."

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