Water plant proposal receives support

By Patrick Wade

The Champaign City Council unanimously supported a proposal by the Illinois American Water Company Tuesday night in which the company plans to build a $51 million water treatment plant to ensure future water needs are met in Champaign County.

The plant, which is set to begin construction sometime after June 2007, will have an initial capacity of 15 million gallons per day, and will be capable of being expanded to as much as 20 million gallons per day.

Barry Suits, network operations manager for Illinois American Water, said that during the last 20 years water demand in Champaign County increased 35 percent. The water plant will be finished in time to support peak customer needs in 2009.

The 40-acre site will include seven new wells which draw water from the Mahomet Aquifer. The site, which is located north of Interstate 72 between County Road 300 East and County Road 500 East, was chosen because of its environmental benefits.

“The Mahomet Aquifer in this area is well suited to provide sustainable capacity to meet the community’s future water needs with minimum impacts to the Aquifer levels overall, or on adjacent landowner’s wells,” Suits said.

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Although the site is outside Champaign city limits, it is on the city’s side of the boundary agreement with Mahomet and therefore subject to eventual annexation by Champaign.

Paul Berg, assistant city manager for Champaign, said that with a project this size, it most likely means water rate increases for consumers.