Chicago mulling water agreement with Oak Lawn
By Dennis Sullivan Special to the Tribune
4:18 p.m. CST, November 16, 2012
As Tinley Park, Orland Park and 10 other suburban communities collectively negotiate a new water-rate contract with Oak Lawn, Chicago’s City Council is mulling its own agreement to provide Lake Michigan water to Oak Lawn.
The proposed 30-year Lake Michigan water agreement, presented Thursday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, identifies all end users served by Oak Lawn, as well as service and water quantity. The proposal, approved by the Oak Lawn Village Board in October, also includes an option to renew the agreement for 40 years.
The contract value is estimated at $28,504,328, based on 2012 water rates of $2.51 per 1,000 gallons of water, but would change during the next three years, and then be linked to Consumer Price Index changes.
Prior to the Oak Lawn board vote, Village Manager Larry Deetjen said the contract would enable the village to deliver, for the next 50 years, 100 million gallons of water a day. Oak Lawn currently delivers 54 million gallons of water a day, using a one-line system, he said.
Village Engineer Randy Rogers said the aging water system needs to double the amount it can deliver to keep pace with an increase in the number of residents using water from Oak Lawn — from the current 325,000 to 400,000-450,000 by 2030.
The length of the contract would provide price stability and assured reliability, enabling Oak Lawn to spread out its $185 million water distribution system overhaul.
Chicago has already instituted a 90 percent rate hike over four years to cover its own water-supply system improvements.
The proposed contract allows Orland Park to resell water to the Illinois American Water Co. for use by unincorporated Alpine Hills, as well as to sell water to 2,000 retail accounts outside the village. Tinley Park is authorized to resell water to Mokena, New Lenox and the Illinois American Water Co. for Orland Hills. Mokena is allowed to provide some of its water to unincorporated Arbury Hills, while New Lenox may sell some of its water to 244 retail accounts outside its corporate limits. Oak Forest is authorized to sell water to 30 retail accounts outside its corporate limits.
Also purchasing water from Oak Lawn are Chicago Ridge, Palos Park, Palos Hills, Olympia Fields, Country Club Hills and Matteson.