By ERIN SANSON
The Village of Nilwood held a public hearing on Monday, March 21 in regards to an update in its water system. The proposed project consists of the construction of a 75,000-gallon elevated water tower, 562 water meters, meter reading system, and other related fixtures. Once the new tower is constructed the old tower will be demolished.
Nilwood is taking on the project in order to better serve their users. Nilwood receives water from the Otter lake Water Commission, but owns the water distribution system. The current system uses a 50,000-gallon elevated tank, which was built in 1971. According to the report submitted on Nilwood’s behalf from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the 50-year-old tank has “far exceeded its useful life.”
The new tank will not only store 25,000 more gallons of water, but will be constructed at a higher elevation which will improve water pressure throughout the system.
There are also plans to replace all of the existing water meters in the distribution system due to age and for better measuring and reporting abilities.
The estimated construction date for the project will be in Sept. 2022 with an estimated end date in Oct. 2023.
The project plans were submitted for review to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) EcoCAT system, which would indicate potential impacts to endangered species, area preservation, or wetlands. No issues were discovered with regards to the elevated storage tank. Wetlands were found with 250 feet of the project location for water meter replacement, but the IDNR reviewed the issue and indicated that adverse effects from the project were unlikely.
The IDNR State Historic Preservation Office indicated there was no issue with historic properties and have no objection to the project proceeding.
The U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers reviewed the project and determined the project would not impact any water features, including wetlands.
Project information was submitted to the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office (ONHPO) in August 2021. ONHPO responded on Dec. 6, 2021 to request a cultural resource survey be completed.
Due to the project, project timeline, and the response from ONHPO was submitted Nilwood was not required to complete the survey. If any cultural artifacts are found in the project area, before or during construction ONHPO will be contacted for consultation.
Nilwood is proposing to finance the project with a loan from the Public Water Supply Loan Program (PWSLP). The loan would be for $2,659,000. Nilwood is currently eligible to receive the .83 percent Small Community Rate, partial principal forgiveness and may qualify for a loan term of up to 30 years. With those terms the annual repayments would be approximately $100,156.
The current average monthly residential cost of service is $45.87 the projected average cost at the end of the project would be $59.95.
There is a 10 day public comment period which began Tues. March 22. Written comments may be submitted to the loan applicant, the Village of Nilwood, or the IEPA contact person, Chad Rice, who is the Project manager. Rice can be reached at: Infrastructure Financial Assistance Section, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Water, 1021 North Grand Ave. East, P.O. Box 19276, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276.