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Boulder Hill water main project advances : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Boulder Hill water main project advances
Boulder Hill water main project advances

by John Etheredge


The Village of Montgomery took the first official step this week towards replacing more than three miles of break-prone water mains in the unincorporated Boulder Hill Subdivision.

In a unanimous ballot Monday evening, the village board hired Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), of Sugar Grove, the village's engineering consultants, to prepare engineering plans and provide additional services for the project at a total estimated cost of $288,459.

The project will include the replacement of 18,900 linear feet of water main along with the installation of 109 hydrants, 121 new valves and 282 new service lines and water shut-offs in various locations throughout the subdivision located along the south side of U.S. Route 30, east of Ill. Route 25.

EEI has estimated the cost for the project at $8 million.

To finance the project, including the engineering work, village staff has recommended the board consider either approving a bond sale or pursuing a low interest loan through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

Mike Pubentz, the village's director of public works, told the board the village's contract with EEI includes an optional $25,000 line item for preparation of loan documentation in the event the board decides to apply to the IEPA for a loan.

During a Nov. 26 meeting, board members voiced support for a plan to hike Boulder Hill water rates approximately $15 per month to provide revenues to pay off the bonds or an IEPA loan.

The additional charge for the water main project would not be applied to the water bills of the village's water customers who reside inside municipal limits.

The Don L. Dise Corporation, developer of Boulder Hill, installed the mains as the subdivision was developed from 1957 to 1978.

In 1958 the village board approved an agreement with the Dise Corporation to provide water to the subdivision. Under terms of the agreement, the Dise Corporation paid for and installed the water mains, while the village paid to construct water pumping and storage facilities to serve subdivision residents. The village financed those improvements with revenue bonds, according to a study of the village's water system compiled in 1982 by Paul Schuch, then the village's engineer.

Today, the village provides water to an estimated 2,800 Boulder Hill households.

Initially, water rates for Boulder Hill residents were double what village residents paid. However, as the board has approved water rate increases over the past several years, the difference between rates charged to Boulder Hill residents and village residents has shrunk.

The village is currently charging its in-town residents for water at a rate of $4.90 per thousand gallons used, while Boulder Hill residents were paying for water at a rate of $6.03 per thousand gallons used.

However, over the past two decades, Boulder Hill water mains have been prone to breaks, especially during the winter months.

Rust problems have also been an issue for many of the village's Boulder Hill water customers.

Late last fall and winter several Boulder Hill residents reported problems with rust in their water after the water flow in some mains was changed after the village public works department shutdown a well for emergency repairs.

In addition, homeowners near the Oswegoland Civic Center on Ashlawn Avenue and Circle Drive East have reported chronic problems with rust in their water dating back several years.

Boulder Hill resident
objects to rate hike

Earlier during Monday's meeting, Pat Stiles, a Boulder Hill resident, voiced objection to the board's plan to increase water rates for Boulder Hill customers to pay for the water main project.

Stiles contended the village has been charging Boulder Hill residents double water rates since 1968.

He also accused the village of transferring money out of its water fund to pay for other village expenses, including public works department salaries.

"Over the past eight years you've transferred almost $4 million (out of the water fund) and now you want us to pay for $8 million in repairs," Stiles said.

Stiles noted that he continues to find heavy concentrations of rust in his water.

To prove his point, he showed the board a large jar of rusty water he said he collected from his tap.

As he held up the jar for the board to see, Stiles said, "I encourage you all to come for coffee at my house tomorrow morning. We will use this (water)."

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