May 2017 Update - The Village of Bartlett has held off on its routine, biennial reviews of water and sewer rates since the last increase in 2012, as the board discussed its move to a new water source. On February 7 the board finalized an agreement to purchase Lake Michigan water through the DuPage Water Commission and the rate review was back on the table and an increase was approved at the March 21 Board meeting.
A 20% increase in the water rate and a 20% increase in the sewer rate went into effect on May 1.
Although a rate increase would have occurred even if Bartlett had chosen to renegotiate its water purchase contract with the City of Elgin, the transition to Lake Michigan water requires engineering and water main replacement costs, which account for a substantial portion of the water rate hike. The sewer rate increase is largely impacted by necessary improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.
On average, Cook and Kane County residents can expect to see their monthly water bills go up by approximately $10.42, while the increase for DuPage residents will be about $12.19.
Bartlett’s water and sewer rates have been in the bottom third compared to 26 neighboring communities that were surveyed. After the 20% increase in rates, the Village still falls squarely in the middle of all surveyed municipalities.
Rates will need to be adjusted again during the next two to three years as infrastructure improvements continue, but these incremental increases will certainly be offset once the water connection is complete and residents can remove their water softeners.
“The DuPage Water Commission has provided its members a high quality and reliable water supply for many years, therefore we look forward to being a member,” said Village President Kevin Wallace. “It will be a huge and much anticipated improvement for the Village of Bartlett providing high quality, softened water to all residents. Although rates will be going up to complete this transition, the Village of Bartlett has kept water and sewer rates flat for the past five years. Some of the increases which will take place incrementally over the next two to three years will certainly be offset because residents will be able to remove their water softeners once the Lake Michigan water connection is complete.”
Maintaining affordable water rates for Bartlett residents and business was an important factor in the Board's final decision. See the table below for the current municipal water rates.
|Water Rate||Sewer Rate|
|Cook/Kane Counties||$7.64/1,000 gallons||$11.05 + $0.92/1,000 gallons|
|DuPage County||$7.64/1,000 gallons||$13.02 + $2.33/1,000 gallons|
November 2016 Update -- In January, the Village Board directed staff to pursue an agreement for 100% water from Elgin. Staff has been negotiating with Elgin but at this time has yet to finalize the agreement. Staff has continued to meet with both JAWA and DuPage Water Commission to keep its options open.
On October 27, 2016 JAWA contacted the Village of Bartlett and has offered to reduce its purchase rate by $0.20 and is offering to finance the capital costs of the JAWA improvements (adding the repayment costs to the billing rate). A revised presentation (below) to reflect these changes (shown in blue ink in the pdf).
On January 5, 2016, Dr. Christopher Burke presented three options for future water supply
Providing safe and reliable tap water in a cost efficient manner is one of the most vital municipal services that the Village of Bartlett provides to its residents and businesses.
In 2014, the Village water system pumped 1,158,434,900 gallons to its water consumers, testing and monitoring continuously throughout the year to ensure that Bartlett's water meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water standards. The Village provides its residents with extensive data about the water quality in an annual Consumer Confidence Report that contains information on the source of Bartlett's water, its constituents and the health risks associated with any contaminants. The water quality report is published each year in the June/July issue of the Bartletter, and the most current report is always available on the Water Quality Report page of the Village website.
The Village currently purchases approximately 60% of the water used from Elgin with the balance of the source water pumped from Village wells. However, the contract with Elgin expires in 2019 and the Board of Trustees has been weighing carefully its future water source options.
Working with Christopher B. Burke Engineering, the Board originally considered five different options for sourcing its future water. The following links shows the full presentation to the Board in June 2014 and the follow-up report that addressed questions that were raised during ongoing discussions.
By November 2015, after many discussions and many questions asked and answered, the five proposals had morphed into three solid options -- 100% Elgin water from the Fox River; 100% NSMJAWA (Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency) water from Lake Michigan; or a combination of 50% Elgin/50% NSMJAWA.
Potable Water Study - Update (November 2015/Revised January 2016)
Water Quality Safety
Regular, routine testing and treatment of Bartlett’s drinking water are the Village’s safeguards against the type of water crisis that Flint, Michigan is facing. The Village has been testing its water for compliance with EPA standards for lead since 1992.
The majority of the water the Village receives from Elgin is river water (Fox River), which is a similar source to the Flint River, where Flint, Michigan is currently obtaining its water. However, unlike Flint, Elgin follows federal regulations and treats the water before it exits the water facility.
CNN reports that Virginia Tech researchers found Flint’s water to be highly corrosive. According to USA Today, “the state Department of Environmental Quality has conceded it failed to require needed chemicals to be added to the corrosive Flint River water. As a result, lead leached from pipes and fixtures into the drinking water.”
In contrast, Elgin’s water is “softened” making it noncorrosive so it will not absorb lead that could leach from the pipes of older homes. In a January 25 news story in the Daily Herald, Elgin’s Water Director Kyla Jacobsen said, “In nearly 30 years, not one of Elgin's water tests done with flushed water has shown unsafe levels of lead.”
Bartlett’s well water is not softened. However, it is naturally noncorrosive because it has a neutral pH value between 7.0 and 7.5, and it is blended with Elgin water in the distribution system.
The full transition to Lake Michigan water is expected in 2019.