September 2015 Issue 14
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Picture of the Month

Amy Gahala, USGS, explained to NWPA the interconnection between groundwater and surface water levels via the above images. These images help explain why and how surface waters dry up.

Illustration A is showing how streams can be a gaining stream (gaining in water volume) when the groundwater discharges into the stream. A stream can also be a losing stream when the stream water recharges the groundwater (Illustration B). A stream can be either a gaining or losing stream, but is commonly a mixture of both gaining and losing stretches. During drought, the groundwater that would normally discharge into the stream and replenish the surface water decreases to a level that is below the base of the stream and the stream becomes a losing stream. After a prolonged period of drought, the stream may then dry up or drop to uninhabitable levels for aquatic life.

This problem is exacerbated by over-pumping of wells, especially if they are near a stream, and the increased demand during drought. Analysis of these interactions and our “water budget” can be useful for long-term water resource planning.



9/29 Water Loss Audit Seminar (Elmhurst)

9/29 Planning, Design, & Construction of the Pittsfield Water Treatment Plant (Pittsfield)
9/29-10/1 11th Annual Great Lakes Restoration Conference

10/1 Water Operator Exam Refresher for Class A & B (Elgin)

10/1 Water Loss Audit Seminar (McHenry)

10/3 Kayaking Classes for all levels, Fox River (Batavia)

10/3 River Run, Montgomery Village Hall (Aurora)

10/6 Practical Solutions to External Corrosion Prob on Buried Water Main (Elk Grove)

10/6 Hands-On Water Line Location (Macomb)

10/7 McHenry Green Drinks

10/7 Water Operator Exam Refresher for Class C & D (Chicago)

10/8 Chemical Properties, Equipment, Safety & Security (Greenville)

10/8 Water Loss Audit Seminar (Dixon)

10/9-10/14 Water Fountain Trailer – Village of Mt Prospect Oktoberfest

10/10 & 10/24 Spanish-guided Tour of the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

10/12 ISAWWA ACE 2016 Meeting

10/12 Field Sampling and Analysis Webinar

10/14 Lock Out Tag Out Training (Rockford)

10/14 Education Committee Meeting

10/15 Hands on Basic Water Quality Testing (Peoria)

10/15 Water Loss Audit Seminar (Plainfield)

10/16 ISAWWA Board Meeting

10/20 Telemetry: A Detailed Look at Telemetry (Benton)

10/20 Water Distribution Committee Call, 9:00am CST

10/22 Annual Regulatory Update (Elgin)

10/23 Water Fountain Trailer – City of Batavia

10/27 IRWA Northern Conference

10/27-10/29 15th Biennial Governor's Conference on the Management of the Illinois River System

10/27 Concrete Pipe: Selection, Installation, Inspection, Recent Developments (Lombard)

10/29 Water/Sewer Plans 101 (O’Fallon)

10/29 The Openlands 2015 Annual Luncheon

Executive Committee Members

Executive Committee Chairman
Thomas Weisner
City of Aurora, Mayor
(Metro West COG)


Dale Berman
Village of North Aurora, President
(Metro West COG)

Ruth Anne Tobias
DeKalb County Board Member
(DeKalb County)

Paula McCombie
Village of South Barrington, President
(Barrington Area COG)

Nick Sauer
Lake County Board Member
(Lake County)

Terry Counley
Village of McCullom Lake, President
(McHenry County COG)

Karen Darch
Village of Barrington, President
(Northwest Municipal Conference)

Joseph Haimann
Kane County Board Member
(Kane County alternate)

David Kaptain
City of Elign, Mayor
(Metro West COG)

John Purcell
Kendall County Board Member
(Kendall County alternate)

Carolyn Schofield
McHenry County Board Member
(McHenry County alternate)

John Shaw
Kendall Count Board Chairman
(Kendall County)

Robert Nunamaker
Village of Fox River Grove, President
(McHenry County COG)

Technical Advisory Committee Chairman:
Peter Wallers, P.E., CFM
Engineering Enterprises, Inc., President
Metro West COG Consulting Engineer
(630) 466-6721


The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 28 and Tuesday, September 22, 2015. There was no TAC meeting in August.

Water operators, the Illinois State Water Survey seeks your help. The ISWS would like to obtain any water levels and raw water quality data from wells that you have collected and are willing to share. Please contact Walt Kelly, Head of the Groundwater Science Section, at or 217-333-3729.

The Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association (ISAWWA) has FREE M36 Water Loss Audit seminars coming up. The M36 Water Loss Audit tool, endorsed by NWPA, is a simple and convenient tool to use. Conducting water loss audits can help municipalities reduce energy use and water loss and get fewer employees to do more with their time. Seminars will be held on Sept. 22 in Schaumburg, Sept. 23 in Lansing, Sept. 29 in Elmhurst, and Oct. 1 in McHenry. Visit their calendar here to see the full listing.

The Illinois Section American Water Works Association (ISAWWA) published the latest edition of its magazine Splash, available to download here.


Progress Report


Chloride in our Water

Amy Gahala, United States Geological Survey, gave a presentation at the TAC meeting on shallow sand and gravel aquifers and water quality in McHenry County, IL. McHenry County has installed a network of groundwater monitoring wells to assess water quality and availability. A USGS designated website of the groundwater network is available here. Analysis of water quality data has revealed an increasing issue of chloride concentrations in groundwater shown in the figure below. Amy explained the below figure which shows an increase in chloride concentrations (mg/l) in the shallow groundwater from 1979 to 2010.

Chloride is a soluble and mobile ion that is toxic to aquatic life and can impact vegetation and wildlife.

Chloride enters the environment by infiltration to groundwater, runoff to surface water, and through storm drains or storm retention ponds. It is not easily broken down, metabolized, taken up, or removed from the environment. As a result, chloride persists in the environment. Dilution can reduce its concentration temporarily- according to continuous chloride monitoring data from USGS research comparing rain events to chloride concentration (below); but at other times, chloride can increase temporarily. However, the accumulation of chloride poses a persistent risk to the water quality and the plants, animals, and humans who depend upon it.

Chloride is chronically toxic to aquatic life at 230 mg/l and acutely toxic to aquatic life at 860 mg/l according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Shallow wells (particularly of less than 25 feet) in McHenry County are seen to have chloride concentrations above 200 mg/l. Groundwater discharge to streams (see: Picture of the Month, above) adds to chronic (long term) and potentially to acute (short term) toxicity levels of chloride.

Preliminary analysis of chloride sources revealed that road salt, sewage, and water softeners may be some of the primary sources of chloride, however, additional study is needed to confirm the sources.  McHenry is not the only county in northeastern Illinois that uses these substances. Several studies have confirmed the presence of elevated chloride concentrations in the groundwater for much of Northern Illinois (Kelly and Wilson, 2008; Kelly, 2012; Mullaney and other, 2009; Panno, 2013), due primarily to the use of road salt in the winter.  Chloride contamination is a rising issue that will need to be addressed in the coming years. Your municipality can address the road salt issue by determining the amount of road salt used each winter and exploring alternatives, such as beet juice. For more information on de-icing alternatives, reference the EPA article here.



Water scarcity is a growing concern for water utilities in northeast Illinois. As a result, utilities must find a balance between supplying sufficient volumes of water to earn enough revenue to cover operating costs while encouraging conservation. One tool to help find this balance is a smart water meter.

Smart water meters can record tap water consumption and provide features on your smartphone such as remote meter reading, leak surveillance, and pinpoint data collection.

Smarter water metering is a necessary step towards increasing the visibility of an underground and unseen infrastructure. Proper (or improper) water metering can otherwise impact distribution systems. Choosing the right smart water meter solution for your water distribution system will streamline operations, reduce costs, and increase revenue.

Consider updating your water meters with brands like Kamstrup or Badger Meter with Beacon Advanced Metering Analytics, previously advertised in the ISAWWA Summer 2015 Splash magazine.


The Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA), formed by intergovernmental agreements, seeks to collaboratively plan for and steward our shared river and groundwater resources to ensure a sustainable water supply for the people, economy, environment, and future generations.

For more information or to contribute to the newsletter, contact Peter Wallers.
Copyright © 2015 Northwest Water Planning Alliance, All rights reserved.

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