February 2014 Issue 4
Peter Wallers—Engineering Enterprises, Inc.

Picture of the Month

Water Main: A water main is an underground pipe, sometimes located under the street, that delivers drinking water from the water treatment plant to the customer's service pipe at their home or business. Older pipes were mostly made of wood, cast iron or bronze. New pipes are mostly made of more durable ductile iron or plastic materials like Polyvinyl choloride (PVC) or Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).

Many water mains in the region are decades old and nearing the end of their useful life. As a result, water main breaks are becoming an increasingly costly problem in many communities. Breaks can happen when soil conditions change around a corroded pipe, most commonly occurring during winter months. Frost can penetrate several feet into the ground and cause a weakened pipe to break. Water mains are repaired by closing valves to prevent further leakage, digging down to the pipe, and applying a repair clamp or replacing a section of pipe.

Executive Committee Members:

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

Mary McCann
McHenry County Board Member
(McHenry County)

Kathleen Leitner
Village of Tower Lakes, President
(Barrington Area COG)

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

Bonnie T. Carter
Lake County Board Member
(Lake County)

Terry Counley
Village of McCollum 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)

Patsy Smith
Village of Campton Hills, President
(Metro West COG)

Melisa Taylor
Kane County Board Member
(Kane County)

Ruth Anne Tobias
DeKalb County Board Member
(DeKalb County)

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, January 28, 2014. Several members noted that their communities experienced a large number of water main breaks and corresponding high levels of water pumpage due to the extreme weather conditions in the month of January. Peak pumpage was nearly as high or as high as peak summer pumpage, which is very unusual to see during winter months. It was also noted that levels of total dissolved solids and chlorides in river water sources were around two times higher than normal concentrations due to the large amount of salt that was applied during January's winter storms. These increased levels do not negatively affect human health, but they can affect taste. 

NWPA and the Illinois State Water Survey are pleased to announce the introduction of an online water reporting tool for NWPA member communities. This user-friendly tool will allow NWPA to better track and visualize regional water usage. Tracking variables include water supplied from shallow wells, deep wells, and river sources along with consumer demand and water main break information. More information and detailed instructions for using this tool will be sent to water providers soon.

To learn more and participate in our planning process, please attend our Technical Advisory Committee meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at The Centre at Elgin at 10:00am. The next TAC meeting will be on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.

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Progress Report

Waste not, want not

Groundwater and river water sources used by Northwest Water Planning Alliance communities are finite, which means that we all have to be conscious about avoiding water waste when possible.  Lowering the volume of water consumed allows more water to remain in the Fox River and aquifers. A decrease in demand also can delay the need for utilities to undertake costly expansion projects. There are ways that we can all help to protect our critical water resources—one of which is the WaterSense program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) WaterSense program seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people water-efficient products and services. WaterSense helps consumers make informed decisions when purchasing water-related products in order to achieve savings and high environmental standards without compromising performance. 

“People can keep using products while at the same time using less water and spending less money,” explained John Dillon, water and sewer division superintendent for the City of Batavia. “The program focuses on creating customer awareness about not wasting water through conservation and the installation of efficient plumbing products.”

WaterSense-certified high-efficiency products allow the average household to save thousands of gallons of water per year. Aggregate all of the households in your community, and the savings add up! Lowering household and business consumption through efficiency can help communities extend the life of their infrastructure by delaying the need for costly capital projects like plant expansion and freeing up funds to be used for critical projects like replacing outdated water main systems. 


John Dillon from the City of Batavia provides information at a green-themed event at a local library during Fix a Leak Week 2011.

“The process of becoming a WaterSense partner is very easy and doesn’t take a lot of time,” said Dillon. And it’s free. When you become a WaterSense partner, U.S. EPA will provide your community with materials and tools to promote efficient products and water habits. The agency also provides support with organizing community educational events, like those that coincide with Fix a Leak Week.

Fix a Leak Week is the WaterSense program’s annual campaign with events taking place across the country. According to U.S. EPA, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year. This week-long awareness campaign aims to educate Americans about the high cost of leaky pipes and inefficient appliances along with information about how to check their plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. Fix a Leak Week 2014 will take place March 17-23. 

Becoming a WaterSense partner and organizing a local Fix a Leak Week event is a great way to start to develop or expand a municipal water efficiency and/or conservation program. Consumer awareness is crucial to the sustainability of our regional water supply and meeting the goals set forth in Water 2050. Don’t forget about indoor water efficiency this season and join the list of NWPA communities that are already WaterSense partners!



Pledge to be for water in your community during Fix a Leak Week! U.S. EPA's WaterSense program has resources that you can use to help educate your water customers about their water use habits, leak detectionfixing leaks and water efficiency. WaterSense partners also have access to additional materials and tools to promote water efficiency and efficient products.

To join the list of NWPA communities that are already WaterSense partners, simply fill out the promotion partner online form. Builders, certified irrigation professionals, licensed certification providers, manufacturers, professional certifying organizations and retailers/distributors are also eligible to become WaterSense partners. Information about the requirements and online forms for these groups can be found here.


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 Kaitlyn McClain.

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