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Joliet

Joliet water commission hires PR firm to 'maintain transparency'

Blue pipes transport treated water through the Joliet Water Treatment Facility on March 22, 2017, in Joliet.
Blue pipes transport treated water through the Joliet Water Treatment Facility on March 22, 2017, in Joliet.

The Joliet Environmental Commission has hired a public relations firm as it digs deeper into its search for alternative water sources for the city.

Joliet is looking for a new source of water amid forecasts the city’s deep wells could begin to dry up in 15 to 20 years.

The Environmental Commission on Tuesday approved the hiring of Images Inc. for $15,000 to increase public awareness of the city’s water issues.

Joliet Utilities Director Allison Swisher said Images Inc. will “maintain transparency throughout the project” by developing a website and providing other services.

Images Inc. specializes in projects that include public involvement. The company handled public relations for the Illiana Tollway plan in south Will County and high-speed rail projects in Illinois.

The company was among five firms that submitted proposals for the job.

The city’s $279,000 contract with consulting engineers Crawford, Murphy and Tilly includes up to $20,000 for public relations.

Swisher on Tuesday told the commission that city staff and their consultants have begun to meet with potential water suppliers, including the village of Oak Lawn, which distributes Lake Michigan water, and Aqua Illinois, a company that supplies Kankakee River water to Kankakee and other municipalities.

A presentation on potential water sources for Joliet will be made at the Environmental Commission meeting Dec. 11.

The city expects to complete the study by the end of 2019.

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