Joliet planning ahead for water, sewer improvements

Brock A. Stein | 3/7/2018, 10:18 a.m.
Joliet is staying ahead of the curve with a plan to update 1% of their water and sewer infrastructure each ...
Joliet is taking a pro-active approach to maintaining their water infrastructure, performing preventive maintenance to reduce the costs associated with water main breaks and leaks in the system. Photo by Brock A. Stein

The City of Joliet is on target to invest about $215 million in water and sewer system improvements over the next seven years.

In an effort to improve the reliability of its water and sewer system infrastructure, the city has approved investments in updating equipment starting with about $46 million for 3 projects approved in 2014. The city’s utilities department has set a goal of rehabbing about 1% of the system each year.

That includes $7.1 million in sanitary sewer improvements along Route 6, $12.4 million for an east side pump station, and $24.6 million for a water overflow tunnel under the Des Plaines River tunnel.

The city approved another $168 million in projects in 2017 with fixes mandated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to correct sewer overflow issues by 2025.

Other projects include

• A $38.3 million investment to reduce sewer overflows in to the Des Plaines River.

• $19.3 million for improvements at two of the city’s three water treatment plants including an expansion for future growth at the Aux Sable Creek plant on the far west side of the city.

• Plans to reduce phosphorus levels that can cause algae growth in lakes and streams.

• $7.4 million to fund the first year of a five-year water distribution system rehabilitation program to replace existing water mains.

• $6.8 million to fund the first year of a five-year citywide rehabilitation of sanitary sewer mainlines and manholes. Rehabilitation will restore the structural integrity of the sewer system which will lead to a reduction in sewer system overflows and basement back-ups.

• The city will invest in relining some older pipes with an eye toward reducing lost water through leakage and to reduce water main breaks. The relined pipes extend their lifespan by about 50 years.

• The city also aims to reduce water main breaks, which it has spent as much as $400,000 in one year on repairing. Broken mains cost around $10,000 per incident with as many as 250 per year on average.