Homewood takes next step toward Hammond, Chicago Heights water

Homewood moved a step closer to leaving the Chicago and Harvey system and getting water from Hammond, Indiana, through Chicago Heights.
 
The village board approved a contract at its Sept. 24 meeting with engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. The agreement with the Kansas City, Missouri, company includes design, permitting, right-of-way acquisition, soil investigation, water quality assessment, construction engineering and any other necessary tasks to prepare for the installation of 2.36 miles of water main between Homewood and Chicago Heights.
 
The village will pay Burns and McDonnell $813,000 out of its water and sewer fund.
 
Homewood officially began to work toward a contract with Chicago Heights to source Lake Michigan water in July. The village’s contract with Harvey expires in December of 2022 and Homewood’s goal is to have the new water infrastructure in place when that time comes.
 
Harvey buys water from Chicago and resells it to Homewood and other towns. Homewood provides water to Flossmoor.
 
Harvey’s water infrastructure is in need of significant improvements. Harvey also owes Chicago more than $20 million in past-due bills. The uncertainty in both finances and infrastructure led to Homewood seeking other sources for water.
 
Chicago Heights purchases its Lake Michigan water from Hammond, which sells water downstream at a less expensive rate than Chicago by ordinance. Glenwood, Thornton, South Chicago Heights and Ford Heights receive Hammond water via Chicago Heights. 
 
Homewood is asking Burns and McDonnell to determine what infrastructure will be needed for the new main, develop a proposed route, assess the water systems of both Hammond and Chicago Heights, identify permits needed, determine costs of construction and connection, design the supply line and develop a timeline for the project.
 
Burns and McDonnell will also look at Homewood’s ability to supply Flossmoor, Hazel Crest and East Hazel Crest and evaluate the quality of the water from Hammond compared to that from Chicago.
 

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