DECATUR — The Decatur City Council will be faced with several decisions related to the ongoing drought at its meeting tonight.
The council will consider a resolution to give City Manager Ryan McCrady authority to spend up to $1.4 million on a temporary pipeline to bring supplemental water sources to the city. The resolution specifies that McCrady could enter into a contract with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. to install, operate and maintain the pipeline.
City officials sought a temporary easement from the Decatur Park District last week that would allow construction of a 9,000-foot plastic pipeline, crossing park district property at three points.
The pipeline would connect the city’s raw water pump station with water sources that city officials have not yet specified. The sources could include shallow groundwater or Lake Tokorozawa, the private owners of which are said to be in negotiations with the city.
Another agenda item would affect water use by Archer Daniels Midland Co., the city’s largest water user. One measure would allow ADM to build temporary wells and double the capacity of groundwater it can use to 6 million gallons per day.
“ADM feels like they have the opportunity to put in some wells here in the very short-term period that could get them another 3 million gallons of well water,” McCrady said Friday. “That would reduce how much water they take out of the lake, so it would help the lake and help assist the community.”
The other item provides a contingency plan if Lake Decatur’s level drops so low that ADM’s North Water Treatment Plant has to shut down. If that happened, the company would be allowed to double its purchase from the city’s South Water Treatment Plant to 12 million gallons per day.
McCrady said the lake would have to fall several more feet for that to occur.
The council also could authorize a continuing agreement with Black & Veatch Corp., the engineering firm that has handled research into the city’s supplemental water sources. The resolution would allow the city to spend up to $75,000 for additional engineering services from the firm during the drought.
Representatives from Black & Veatch also are scheduled to speak at a study session following the meeting to present the city’s supplemental water options.
McCrady said the city has enough money on hand to cover a temporary solution to the water supply problem. Between a fund balance in the Water Fund and money from bonds the city sold in 2010, there is about $6.5 million to $7 million available, though the city isn’t likely to spend that much on a temporary solution.
But when the city looks for a permanent fix for its water woes, there may be discussion of increasing water rates. McCrady said Decatur’s water rates are among the lowest in the state from municipalities that provide their own water.
“Whatever our permanent solution for the water supply is going to be, it’s going to be expensive,” McCrady said. “The water rates we have now won’t sustain the permanent solution to our water supply issue.”
In other business, the council will consider a zoning request from ADM that has drawn opposition from the affected residents. The proposal would rezone much of the former Faries Park Golf Course as “heavy industrial,” allowing ADM to build an electrical substation on the property. Families who live in the area spoke against the plan Aug. 2 at the Decatur Plan Commission meeting.