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Glen Ellyn Village Board passes water system regulations, tables contract consideration

GLEN ELLYN – Although the Glen Ellyn Village Board of Trustees passed an ordinance to establish new regulations to protect its water system, leaders opted to table hiring an outside company to manage the changes.

"It seems like it's a relatively simple thing for us to do," said Trustee Pete Ladesic at Monday's board meeting.

But Public Works Director Julius Hansen said the department does not feel an in-house program is the best option.

"We're not selling ourselves short," Hansen said. "We really honestly feel that we want the expertise from someone outside that can do this the best way for the residents' sake and the water system's sake."

The approved ordinance gives the village the authority to establish a cross-connection control program, as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Cross-connections are contacts between a safe water supply and another substance of unknown or questionable safety that could contaminate the clean water.

During the past 10 years, the village's Public Works Department has identified more than 1,986 locations where backflow prevention devices that would prevent outside water sources from backflowing into the public water system are needed, according to village records.

Water supplies that would require control devices to be installed include those used by doctors, dentists, mortuaries, manufacturers, restaurants and fire sprinkler and irrigation systems.

The proposed one-year, renewable contract with Elgin-based AquaBackflow was tabled until the Village Board's next regular meeting Feb. 24 and would put the management of the cross-connection control program in the hands of the third party.

AquaBackflow estimated the cost of its services to be $24,645.20. Of that, the village would pay $4,884.50 to cover management and annual mailed survey fees, according to village records. Plumbers who test the control devices would be responsible for paying test submission fees, which make up $19,760.70 of the contract.

Those required to have a cross-connection control device on their water system to prevent backflow into the public system must pay for the installation and ongoing inspection of the device, according to the ordinance.

A phone survey conducted by village staff found many nearby communities outsource the management of the program.

One community that does not is Wheaton, where about 20 hours per week are spent by a staff member on the management of the program, said Glen Ellyn Utilities Superintendent Bob Greenberg. This means one full-time position dedicates about half the work week to the program.

Trustee Diane McGinley said that based on the requirements she saw on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website, she found it difficult to believe all the tasks presented to the board are actually required of whoever manages the program.

"I have a really, really, really difficult time accepting these program requirements," said McGinley, who requested the item be tabled to allow additional time for considerations.

However, the program is dictated by additional regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Public Health, according to village records.

McGinley, Ladesic and trustee Jim Burket voted to table the contract consideration, while trustees Dean Clark and Tim O'Shea were in favor of a vote.

Trustee Tim Elliott was not present.

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