Homewood to study cost of water, feasibility of other sources

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13, Homewood trustees approved joining other municipalities in a pair of studies aimed at alleviating potential issues with the water the village buys from the city of Harvey. 

The first will assess the rate the village pays Harvey for water.

Robert Handler, court-appointed receiver tasked with overseeing Harvey’s water department, has issued three reports about the Harvey water system. Handler claims Homewood pays a rate of 3.25 cents per cubic foot of water. Harvey’s water expenses are 4.8 cents per cubic foot, according to Handler’s report. 

As a result, Handler suggests the rate at which Homewood pays Harvey for water should be increased. 

Homewood is under contract with Harvey through Dec. 16, 2022. The village expects Handler to petition the court to void that contract in order to raise the rate.

Flossmoor receives its water from Homewood.

“We believe the receiver is including other costs unrelated to what it actually costs (Harvey) to deliver water, such as the cost of maintenance on portions of the water system that do not support water delivery to us and the cost for water loss throughout Harvey's entire system,” Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino said in a memo to the village board.

“In order to ensure that we will only be charged for the actual cost of delivering water to Homewood, it's necessary to conduct our own water study.”

Baxter and Woodman Engineering will conduct the study for $39,500. The village hired the same firm to perform a study of Harvey’s water system in 2014.

The study will make an assessment of what it costs Harvey to deliver water to Homewood, Hazel Crest, East Hazel Crest, Posen and Dixmoor. Each town will pay a proportionate share of the cost based on the amount of water purchased from Harvey. Homewood will pay $13,777.60.

Homewood expects the study to be completed in February, but it could take longer if Harvey is not cooperative. 

The board also approved a second study to look into the feasibility of getting water from sources other than Harvey, including Chicago Heights and Oak Lawn.

Baxter and Woodman will also conduct that study for $26,000. The report the firm issued in 2014 revealed deficiencies in Harvey’s water system, including portions of it in disrepair, and a lack of regular maintenance and/or capital investment. 

Chicago Heights is supplied water by Hammond, Indiana. Oak Lawn gets water through Chicago. 

The assessment will compare the capability of each, estimate the costs of necessary infrastructure improvements, identify possible routes for the water system, develop a construction timeline and determine both the total and per 1,000 gallon rate to connect to a new water source. 

That study is also expected to be completed in February.


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