Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 2, 2013

Council approves emergency water plan

Jackson Adams Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — ST. ELMO — Persistent water problems in St. Elmo seem to have been fixed but the city council discussed new plans to ensure the safety of utilities in the future.

At its meeting Monday night, council member Michael Springman said the chlorine filled and often hard water from Fayette Water Co. had been fixed but the city should look into the contract with the company to see if future problems can be solved earlier.

”Over the last few months, we’ve had issues at the plant,” he said. “As of now, thy’re all taken care of. You should have soft water. Now, I’m wanting to look into an emergency water interconnect with EJ Water. As of right now, we get our water from Fayette Water. We are their biggest customer but in the event of an emergency, we could use the water interconnect.”

Springman said he estimates setting up the interconnect — which would, under the city’s current contract with Fayette Water, allow the city to purchase 20 percent of its utilities from another source in the case of an emergency — would cost the city $25,000.

Council member Charles Bosomworth said he would support the project and buying water from EJ Water.

”I don’t know that we can’t do it,” he said. “We need to do it. Let’s face it, we can have water cheaper than we can from Fayette. They’re holding us hostage.”

Springman said they may have to work with Fayette Water in order to allow an interconnect to be constructed, although it would need to be stressed that purchased water from EJ Water Cooperative would need to be just in the case of storms or other major problems.

”This is just in the case of emergencies. They know we’re not going to take EJ’s water everyday. We’re not going to be taking 20 percent everyday.”

The council voted unanimously to approve looking further into the possible emergency interconnect. Springman said the city needs the ability to have this fall back.

”This is important,” he said. “We can’t let the city go like it has for the last few years.”

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.