December 2013 NWPA Issue 2
Source—Bryan Swistock, Penn State University

Picture of the Month

Sanitary Well Cap: This component prevents contamination of the well from above-ground sources. A watertight and vermin-proof seal is created when the top of the cap is bolted to the bottom, compressing the inner rubber gasket. The top of the cap can be easily removed to perform well maintenance.

These caps are crucial to keep out insects that can introduce coliform bacteria—like E. Coli—into the water pumped from the well.  Sanitary well caps typically cost between $40-$50 for private wells, and many municipalities now require homeowners to install sanitary well caps for all newly-constructed wells.

This brochure from the Water Systems Council details a number of tests that can be performed to determine the effectiveness of your sanitary well cap.

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 had its monthly meeting on November 26, 2013. Several members noted that their communities experienced difficulties in mid-November with frazil ice on the Fox River—a collection of small ice particles that looks like slush. Frazil ice forms when water cools rapidly in turbulent waters, usually caused by wind. The small particles quickly begin to stick together and form larger chunks that can interfere with water supply intake pumps. Thankfully, interference usually only lasts for a few hours. In these instances, communities were back to normal operations within four hours.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is considering updated language for the Illinois Plumbing Code to allow for "green" plumbing systems—most importantly the addition of language to allow non-potable water reuse systems in some situations. The current code does not include any language about this technology, so the only way for a homeowner, business owner or municipality to install such a system is to have a variance approved by the state. The proposed code revisions must be submitted to the legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in order to be approved. The NWPA Executive Committee approved sending a letter in support of the plumbing code reform to Governor Quinn's office.

The State and Regional Water Supply Policy Coordination Group—a group convened by the Metropolitan Planning Council and the the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning—meets bi-monthly to support state water policy planning and advance implementation of the region’s water supply plan, Water 2050. The group is comprised of regional water experts, policy makers, private businesses and other regional stakeholders. NWPA is represented at these meetings by Pete Wallers and Mayor Tom Weisner. To be added to the meeting list, please contact Josh Ellis, Metropolitan Planning Council.

Progress Report

Northwest Water Planning Alliance Ready to Work

By Kaitlyn McClain

This story originally appeared on the Metropolitan Planning Council's website and What Our Water's Worth blog. 
The Northwest Water Planning Alliance, a consortium of roughly 80 groundwater and surface water communities in DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Lake and McHenry counties, took a big step forward on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, when the Executive Committee approved the group’s first Strategic Plan since its establishment in 2010. The creation of the plan was made possible by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)’s  Local Technical Assistance program, which provides planning assistance to communities in the region to advance planning projects that align with GO TO 2040 goals.

Tim Loftus, water resource planner at CMAP, facilitated discussions that began in February among NWPA Executive Committee and Technical Assistance Committee members about the future direction of the NWPA and prepared the comprehensive three-year plan. The Metropolitan Planning Council also provided input during the process and is tasked with being a lead implementer for a number of outreach initiatives. These discussions, paired with a guiding vision of dependable water supplies in the NWPA area for generations to come, led to a mission statement and very specific objectives and strategies. The plan is intended to help the group expand their presence in the region and focus efforts on three overarching goals that reflect the vision and mission of the NWPA:
  1. Build the organizational capacity to achieve the mission.
  2. Provide education and outreach to raise awareness of the value of water as a finite asset.
  3. Develop sustainable water use policies and practices that are widely adopted and protective of water supplies.
“The importance of the strategic plan is that it confirms the direction in which the NWPA wants to head in the future,” says Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. and Technical Assistance Committee Chairman. That Committee—comprised of local water professionals and utility managers—can work closely with the Executive Committee—comprised of elected officials—to pursue important initiatives in a coordinated way. He further emphasizes the importance of the NWPA’s work, saying that “water is going to be a critical element going forward and we as a region need to do a better job of understanding supply and demand to remain economically strong.” As CMAP’s Water 2050 regional water supply and demand plan describes in great detail, regional water demand is expected to increase in the coming decades, perhaps even dramatically based upon some population forecasts. Regional planning is imperative now to ensure that northeastern Illinois’ aquifers and rivers can sustain the region’s population and economic growth well into the future.

Read the rest of the article detailing 2014 plan priorities at the Metropolitan Planning Council's website

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 January 28, 2014.




A report by Illinois State Water Survey researchers was released last month. It details two studies to support water resources planning in McHenry County, Illinois—one that mapped heads (underground water pressure that affects well pumping efficiency and discharge to streams) in the shallow aquifers of McHenry County and one that developed and used a computer model to simulate groundwater flow in the aquifers supplying the county. This report summarizes the hydrogeology of McHenry County and the surrounding region, discusses historical and future groundwater pumping, describes the methods employed to measure and map shallow heads in McHenry County and presents and discusses groundwater flow model results.

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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.

Copyright © 2013 Northwest Water Planning Alliance, All rights reserved.
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