W. Chicago gets $1 million toward new treatment plant

Nov. 15, 2000
West Chicago Mayor Steve Lakics announced at Tuesday's city council meeting that federal officials had notified the city it would receive the $1 million grant for a water treatment facility.

By Jake Griffin, Daily Herald Staff Writer

November 08, 2000 (Chicago Daily Herald)—When $1 million is a drop in the bucket, the bucket has to be pretty big.

West Chicago Mayor Steve Lakics announced at Tuesday's city council meeting that federal officials had notified the city it would receive the $1 million grant for a water treatment facility.

"It's $1 million that West Chicago taxpayers won't have to pay," Lakics said after the meeting. "It's not $20 million, but I'll take $1 million any day."

Acting city administrator, Michael Guttman, reiterated that the water treatment plant would cost nearly $20 million to complete. Lakics said the rest of the money would likely come from issuing bonds and the DuPage County Airport, which owes the city some $2.5 million in infrastructure fees.

The mayor said the city had negotiating with airport officials for about a year to swap airport land for the outstanding fees. However, he said because the airport bought its land with Federal Aviation Administration money the airport could only offer to lease the land. Even at a reduced rate Lakics said it would be more expensive than purchasing land.

The facility is needed because four years ago the city was notified the radium level in its well water was above federal standards, Lakics said.

New standards were introduced then that lowered the acceptable level. Lakics said at that time the city was given five years to relieve the problem.

Guttman said the council probably won't see plans for facility until after the new year. It will take two years minimum before the facility is completely constructed.

Lakics said because of the work done among the city, state Sen. Doris Karpiel and U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, taxpayers have $1 million less to worry about.

"The facility will knock the hardness out of the water, remove radium to an insignificant level and make the quality of water better than Lake Michigan water for a third of the cost," Lakics said.

The city's next step is to find about 10 acres to build on. Lakics said the land needs to be centrally located to keep costs as low as possible.

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