CRETE | A consultant hired by village government to analyze the municipal well water system plans to conduct a 12-week pilot program beginning in late March or early April to see how effective a new filtration system would work.
Officials from HR Green, hired last year to study the village’s setup of five wells to determine what improvements were needed, said the Amiad-brand filtration system they want to install would be more efficient and take up less space than current equipment.
It also would take care of what they consider the most severe problem involving Crete’s fresh water supply – a high level of iron.
Ed Coggins, a senior project manager for HR Green, said each of the five wells produces water with levels of nearly 1 milligram of iron per liter. That is much higher than the ideal standard of about 0.2 milligrams per liter.
Another senior project manager, Eddie McCall, said the current level of iron in Crete’s water supply isn’t so much hazardous as, “a nuisance,” by creating buildup in pipes that add to the unpleasant taste and smell some people claim well water contains.
The pilot program would test the new system on Crete water to see if less iron in the water can be achieved. If it can, the new system would be installed at three of the five wells – with the remaining two being reduced to a backup role in case the others break down or develop problems.
Village President Michael Einhorn said if the Village Board were to approve the new system some time this summer, it likely would take one and a half to two years before it was fully installed.
Village Trustee Stephen Johnson, who oversees the Village Board’s water committee, said the length of time is due to the installation process being done in phases to maintain a constant water supply. “Our system won’t suddenly change,” he said.
Einhorn said village officials were going to require serious discussions about how to pay for the new system.
“We cannot afford to do this under our current situation,” Einhorn said. There’s going to have to be some public discourse about this issue.”
Coggins said there are state programs that could provide low-interest loans to Crete to help them pay for water improvements.
HR Green officials said they have done similar improvements in west suburban Western Springs. McCall said his company was able to get the local well water supply there up to the standards of the fresh water supply of Lake Michigan.
Coggins said removing iron from the water supply would create a notable improvement for local residents who complain about the smell and taste of well water. “Keeping iron out of the water will improve its quality long-term,” he said.