WHY DO WE NEED A WATER TOWER?
- The Village water system is completely reliant on our Pump Station for water to our residents: No power. No water. There is a backup generator but if it fails… no water. There is electric switch gear in the Pump Station. If it fails…no water. This happened during an emergency situation in the spring of 2011. It took 3 weeks to order a new transfer switch. During that time any loss of Edison power would have left the Village with no water temporarily. It also happened in 2007 triggering a boil order. The water tower provides us time to react to any mechanical pump station failure.
- When the pump station reacts to a sudden demand for water the pumps tend to provide too much pressure for a short period of time creating a water hammer effect much like when you quickly turn your faucet off at home and the pipes bang. That effect on our water system results in water main breaks that cost thousands of dollars to repair, thousands of dollars in water loss and interruption of service to residents. With the gravity fed water tower pressure will always be smooth & steady regardless of the sudden demands.
- The water tower would improve fire flows throughout the Village. If you turn on 2 faucets in your home, your garden hose loses pressure. That’s because there is not enough volume of water to back up that garden hose. The same thing happens when fire fighters turn on hydrants. Heavy use of one or more hydrants requires a large volume of water. The water tower can supply that. Our pump station cannot.
- That same scenario can take place with a serious water main break or multiple breaks at one time. This happened in 1997 triggering a boil order. Simply put, we cannot pump more than we are using at any time for any reason. Once again the water tower provides instant “insurance” and time for us to react to an emergency and provide uninterrupted water service to our residents.
- In recent years we have had to replace the master meter in our pump station. In order for us to do this, we have to shut down the entire pumping station. Currently we have to open up our cross-connection with the City of Oak Forest and rely on them to supply the Village with water until our system is up and running. We are forced to make these repairs in the middle of the night when the water usage would be at the lowest. With the 500k Gal water tower we would be able to shut down our pump station for approximately 10-12 hours and make the repairs during the day when we have easier access to parts and tools we may need.
- While a water tower has been discussed for the last 50 years, we have documentation from IEPA from the early 1990’s, identifying the lack of a water tower as a deficiency. They do not require us to have one but they strongly recommend it. Take a look around. Nearly every community has at least one.
- Our Electric Bills at the Pump Station are about $3,500 per month. More than that in the summer. The pumps run on electricity. With the water tower in place it is likely that the pump station will shut down in the middle of the night thereby substantially lowering our bills and extending the life of the pumps that now run 24/7.
- The water tower would indirectly have a positive effect on Economic Development. It is difficult to ask business people to depend on an infrastructure that is 70+ years old. As we improve our infrastructure it sends a strong message to potential developers and our residents that we do take our economic development seriously. Multi story development depends on an improved water supply in both volume and pressure.