CRETE | Municipal officials are likely to decide next month whether to implement a new filtration system to improve the quality of well water.
Trustees spent a significant share of Monday’s Village Board meeting discussing whether to move forward with the issue they have been studying for several months with the help of consulting firm HR Green.
No action was taken on Monday, but Village President Michael Einhorn said trustees would likely decide in March whether a 12-week-long pilot program should be conducted.
After that, trustees would have to decide whether the new system recommended by HR Green ought to be implemented.
“I think it would be short-sighted of us at this point to not do the pilot program,” said Einhorn. The pilot program would cost the village $42,750, along with additional costs for a supply of chlorine solution and coming up with a place to dispose of backwash without creating an environmental hazard.
Trustee Holly Milburn expressed concerns about whether inclement weather or other emergency conditions could cause tests to go awry. But other trustees said they believe the pilot program is a step needed if water quality is to improve for the 2,942 customers who get water from village wells.
Einhorn said if village officials ultimately approve installing a new filtration system, it will result in water rates going up for local customers. Although Trustee Stephen Johnson said it also would reduce the amount of money people now have to pay to filter their tap water to make it drinkable.
“It’s all going to kind of even out in the long run,” he said.
Beyond the pilot program, it would cost another $110,000 for a design phase of the new filtration system, then the cost of implementing it. That comes on top of the $24,500 that HR Green already has been paid for its studies recommending the new system.
Einhorn said he believes the village can get low-interest loans through state government programs that could help pay for the project.
He said the fact the village learned this week it has a AA plus credit rating from Standard & Poors will also help come up with financing for the system.
“We didn’t build our excellent credit rating by going out and buying Mercedes for ourselves. This is where it pays off,” Village Trustee Dean Gaffney said.
Officials previously had thought a pilot program could start in late March. But Einhorn said the harsh weather may still be lingering by then.
“There’s got to be mild weather when we do this,” he said, suggesting April was more likely.
In other business, Einhorn and the village trustees were given weather-alert radios free of charge. The village plans to sell identical radios at Village Hall, 524 W. Exchange St., to local residents for $25 each, which Emergency Management Agency head Marty Braccio said is about half the price the radios sell for commercially.
The radios give listeners access to detailed weather reports and official information broadcasts in the event of a weather emergency.