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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Grand Prairie Water Commission?

The Grand Prairie Water Commission is in formation. The Cities of Crest Hill and Joliet and the Villages of Channahon, Minooka, Shorewood, and Romeoville executed a Preliminary Agreement regarding the formation of a Regional Water Commission in January and February of 2022. They are working together to bring Lake Michigan water, purchased from the City of Chicago, to their communities and will make decisions jointly through the Commission.

 

What are the benefits of having a Water Commission?

Partnering to form the Grand Prairie Water Commission gives our Member Communities a solution that provides numerous benefits.

 

  • It’s Member Controlled - In the Grand Prairie Water Commission, Member Communities will have equal representation on the Board of Commissioners. Working together, we will make critical water supply decisions that impact our communities.

 

  • It’s Being Supported By State & Federal Leaders - From the start, state and federal elected officials, as well as IEPA and USEPA, have encouraged communities to work together to tackle this regional problem. The competition for state and federal assistance is significant. But when we work together rather than competing against each other, we have a better chance of successfully securing additional resources to reduce the total project costs.  Responding to the need in our region, Senators Durbin and Duckworth ensured that funds from a new grant program in the bipartisan infrastructure bill could be used for the formation of regional water partnerships to collaboratively address documented water shortages.

 

  • It’s Cost-Effective - The Grand Prairie Water Commission has been designed to maximize the economies of scale, share common risk, benefit all equally, and take advantage of the latest technologies and materials.

 

  • It’s Easier to Construct, Operate, & Maintain - The Grand Prairie Water Commission will have enhanced land acquisition authority, which allows for faster and easier construction of the new water supply infrastructure, including more than 60 miles of water main across multiple suburbs and in Chicago. The Commission will own, operate and maintain infrastructure outside Member Communities’ corporate limits. Since the infrastructure will be brand new, additional expenditures are not anticipated for many years, which results in lower operation and maintenance costs.

 

  • It’s Future-Focused - This program represents a monumental opportunity for the Commission Member Communities.  It’s a chance to supply our Member Communities with a high quality, sustainable water source today and for the future.  As a part of the Grand Prairie Water Commission, Member Communities gain the flexibility to scale up their system, which will support growth. Over time, as the region grows, the system becomes even more economical.

What are the benefits of Lake Michigan Water, purchased from the City of Chicago?

Treated Lake Michigan water purchased from the City of Chicago is a plentiful, reliable, and high-quality water source that can meet the needs of the Grand Prairie Water Commission for over 100 years.

  • Lake Michigan is a reliable, sustainable, high-quality water source that can meet the region’s current and future demands.

  • Chicago is an established water provider that reliably supplies treated Lake Michigan water to over 5 million customers each day.

  • The new treated Lake Michigan Water supply will taste great with lower hardness and less potential for scaling of water fixtures. Water customers will no longer need home water softeners.

What is the Program?

The Program is the infrastructure improvements

required to transmit treated water from the City

of Chicago approximately 35 miles to the southwest

suburbs and then an additional 30 miles for delivery

to the GPWC Members at 14 water delivery points.

A map showing the various components of the

Program is shown to the right.

What is the Program Budget?

The Program Budget is the amount of money budgeted for completion of the Program. The Program Budget represents the total amount of money projected to be spent (in actual dollars at the time spent) for all Program costs up to the start of system operation. It includes costs associated with design, construction and financing issuance of all Commission owned infrastructure. Assuming an annual cost escalation rate of 4% per year, the Program Budget has been established at $1.446 billion. Establishing a baseline Program Budget is important to the effective management of a Program of this magnitude. Status and progress will be regularly compared to the baseline Program Budget, and the Program Budget will be reevaluated annually to determine if any modifications are required.

 
What is the Program Schedule?

The Program Schedule defines the sequence of work and milestones that must be met to successfully complete the program and deliver water to Commission members by 2030. Similar to the Program Budget, a baseline Program Schedule is essential for the effective management of a Program of this magnitude. The Program improvements are divided into 28 work packages structured as individual projects of manageable scope and size for design and construction. Detailed schedules including design, land acquisition, permitting, and construction activities have been created for each work package and linked with logical relationships to create the overall Program Schedule.  The Program Schedule shows the overall plan for activities required to complete initial construction by December 31, 2029, allow for Start-up & Testing beginning on January 1, 2030, and delivery of water to the Commission members by May 2030. Status and progress will be regularly compared to and reported against the baseline Program Schedule to confirm that the Program is on track.

When will we start getting Lake Michigan water?

Constructing a new water supply that includes over 60 miles of large diameter transmission main (16” to 66”), 3 pump stations, 2 water storage tanks, and 14 water delivery structures is a monumental task.  Engineering began in 2021.  Construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 and will be completed by the end of 2029, so that the Commission can begin supplying water to the Member Communities in 2030.

 

Will my street/area be impacted by the construction?

Visit the “Construction” page for Water Commission construction updates.  Contact your community to find out if they have construction planned in your area.

 

Do I need to do anything in my home to prepare for Lake Michigan water?

There is nothing you need to do to prepare for the change of water source. As we get closer to implementation in 2030, information will be provided through this website and your community regarding the process.

 

Will I pay a water bill to the Commission?

No, Commission Member Communities will purchase water from the Water Commission and will bill their customers for the water.  Member Communities Boards/Council will be responsible for establishing their community’s water rates.

 

How can I stay updated on the program?

By visiting gpwc-il.org you’ll find current news. You are also encouraged to follow us on social media where you will find program updates, Commission events, and ways to conserve water each day. Sign up for our mailing list and you will receive Program updates through email.

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