Flossmoor addresses water concerns following recent news stories

  Pipes in Flossmoor's
  water system. 
(Chronicle
  file photo)
 

Flossmoor may be losing $846,000 worth of water a year, but it’s not news to village officials who have been working to correct the problem for several years.

The village responded last week to news stories on water rates and losses in communities throughout the Chicago area, including Flossmoor.

According to an Oct. 25 Chicago Tribune story, data shows that Flossmoor recently lost more than 30 percent of the Lake Michigan water it receives before it could be delivered to village homes and businesses. The annual cost of that lost water comes to $846,000, one of the highest numbers for any municipality in the Chicago area, the story says.

Officials acknowledged the problem in an Oct. 27 press release.

“Water loss is a huge issue, and we have been aware of the problem and have been working on it for several years,” the statement says. “It is a combination of leaking infrastructure and some water meters that do not accurately track, meaning those meters under report actual use.”

Flossmoor has been replacing the village’s leakiest water mains since residents approved a $7.2 million bond issue in Nov. 2012. Six miles of water mains – about 10 percent of the total system – has been replaced in the last five years.

In addition, Flossmoor is replacing unreliable water meters, both for residential and commercial customers.

Flossmoor Public Works Director John Brunke told the H-F Chronicle that the $846,000 number is taken from a report that the village submits each year to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Filing such a report is required for communities that receive an allocation of Lake Michigan water, he said.

In 2016, Brunke said, Flossmoor had “real losses” of more than 119 million gallons of water. That number is multiplied by $7,111, the village’s variable production cost for a million gallons of water.

Flossmoor bills residential and business customers for about one million gallons of water every day. The village’s Lake Michigan water supply extends from Chicago to Harvey to Homewood to Flossmoor.

Flossmoor’s water supply is safe and reliable “despite the current condition of the City of Harvey’s water system,” the village’s press release says.

Besides the planned replacement of water mains and meters, unexpected problems with the water system have also surfaced.

Earlier this year, water leaks were discovered at the village’s Vollmer Road reservoir, which holds three million gallons of water. The reservoir leaks resulted in 25,000 gallons of water being lost each day. Repairs to the reservoir are nearly complete and are costing more than $206,000.

Since early 2015, the H-F Chronicle has carried more than 20 stories dealing with the costs and challenges related to Flossmoor’s water supply.  

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