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ComEd vows to halt outages affecting lakefront sewage site
At NSSD pumping station: Sewage at Lake Bluff plant spilled into Lake Michigan
Ed Collins

 GURNEE -In a progress report to trustees of the North Shore Sanitary District, ComEd personnel have given assurances that appropriate steps are under way to prevent future power outages at the district's Lake Bluff sewage pumping station.

  District trustees took ComEd to task in October after two major power outages this year shut down NSSD pumps for several hours causing raw sewage to spill into Lake Michigan. The district complained to the Illinois Commerce Commission about ComEd's delay in promptly restoring service.

  Mike Lopez, ComEd's senior account manager, was at Monday's meeting and outlined several recent activities that his company has taken to correct the problem.

  Lopez said his technicians have completed a thorough review of all pumping station switches and connections from ComEd's main power line feeders, and upgraded equipment where necessary.

  In addition, the company is also clearing tree limbs and brush away from critical power lines to avoid tree limb storm damage. ComEd is also working with district personnel to implement the use of two new portable emergency generators early next year.

  Lopez said better methods of communicating between NSSD and ComEd's key personnel have also been instituted, allowing for quicker power restoration services in the future.

  "We realize the importance of providing reliable service to your pumping plants," he said, adding Com Ed employees are well aware district service levels need to be improved.

  NSSD General Manager Brian Jensen told trustees ComEd has made a good start. However more needs to be done, Jensen said.

  Jensen indicated the district has had 10 power outages at the Lake Bluff plant over the past eight years. He said the resulting sewage spills caused by the pump shutdowns, and ComEd's delay in making repairs, spoils the environment and makes the NSSD look bad in the eyes of the public.

  In a reorganization of the NSSD board for the coming year, John Paxton of Winthrop Harbor, representing Ward 1, was elected board president. Paxton has been serving as the board's vice president and was NSSD president twice before. He replaces James Swarthout, of Ward 4, Lake Forest.

  Paxton is a retired Zion insurance and real estate executive who is a strong supporter for closing the district's Zion landfill and recycling the district's waste sludge into a glass-type aggregate at the Waukegan lakefront. The end product would be commercially sold for road construction.

  New trustees seated were Steve Drew, replacing Mark Hawn in Ward 2, and John Jurkovac Sr., replacing Eddie Washington, in Ward 3. Both are Waukegan residents.

  Trustees voted to revise their 2003 meeting schedule. They plan to meet at the district's Gurnee headquarters on the second Wednesday of each month, alternating times between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. meetings. The first meeting of the new year will be Jan. 8 at 8:30 a.m.

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