Midlothian uses proceeds from bond issue to fund water system improvements
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org January 20, 2013 10:44PM
Midlothian Public Works Director Rick Hansen holds the recently installed Badger Galaxy water meter system in Midlothian, Illinois, Tuesday, January 8, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: February 22, 2013 6:02AM
The Midlothian water system has seen some major improvements in recent months, with another towering achievement perhaps on the way.
Thanks to $7.5 million from the sale of bonds, the village has been able to work on water mains and replace aging water meters.
If things work out, Midlothian may finally have a water tower.
The village has never had a tower, which has led to some challenges over the years, Public Works Supt. Rick Hansen said.
“It’s not been easy. There are issues when you don’t have a water tower. You are totally reliant on the pump station, which is based on electricity. So any kind of electrical malfunction jeopardizes the water system. We have backups, but they can fail as well,” Hansen said.
Having a tower creates water pressure even when a pump fails, he said.
The village hopes to acquire land where a Chrysler dealership had been in the 14500 block of South Cicero Avenue, and build a water tower there.
A water tower is expected to cost about $1.7 million, Hansen said. The idea has been kicked around for years, he said.
Hansen and Mayor Terry Stephens recalled how there was talk in the late 1990s of building a water tower near the Midlothian Country Club on the west side of the village.
“Back in 1998, there was an agreement about a tower near the country club. The problem with that was it never got done. In 2008, the 10-year (agreement) was up. We approached the country club about the site and they gave us a price of $387,000 to locate it there. That’s a lot of money. We’d rather put (the tower) in a commercial district than a high-rent district like the country club,” Stephens said.
Meanwhile, three miles of water mains were replaced last year, Hansen said.
Stephens said the timing on paying for improvements “was perfect in the down economy, so we got more bang for our buck.”
Improvements were needed, he said, because water loss from the system was at 11.9 percent when 8 percent is considered acceptable.
“A lot of people thought we were out there fixing streets and sidewalks, but we were working on the water mains,” Stephens said.
The water meter replacement program was needed because older meters may not measure water flow as accurately, resulting in financial losses for the village. The new meters will lead to more accurate readings, he said.
“We replaced 3,600 meters, or about 80 percent of the meters in the village,” Stephens said.
Remaining improvements are the water tower and a new water main on Cicero Avenue, Stephens said.
Once the village acquires the property on the west side of Cicero, work can start on the tower.