Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Village’s current production system?

The Village’s current water production system is a gravity fed distributed network that is fed from the Village’s water treatment plant. The Village has a 2-million-gallon standpipe located near Lyons Township High School and a 1 million gallon elevated tank located at Springrock Park, both of which pressure the current system. The Village’s water mains are not uni-directional and flow in the pipes changes depending upon various conditions from the two water tanks and usage within the system. The Village has over 52 miles of water main, of which approximately 77% is over forty years in age.
The Village completed a major renovation of the water treatment plant in 2013 which transitioned the Village from a lime softening treatment process to a low pressure reverse osmosis process (LPRO). The treatment plant outputs nearly 600 million gallons of water to the residents of Western Springs and verage daily consumption levels range from approximately 1.6 – 2.8 millions of gallons per day (MGD).
The Village currently operates on a three well system that feeds the water treatment plant with wells #1, #3 and #4.
Well #1 is a shallow well, drilled to a depth of 385 feet below land surface within the St. Peter Formation. Well #1 was drilled in 1924 and currently has a capacity just under 850 gallons per minute (GPM) or a maximum of 1.2 MGD. This well has a high total hardness and iron, but meets all federal primary drink water standards. When this well is operated to distribution residents will often notice a change in the water quality during that time.
Well #2 was a shallow well similar to well #1 which was located at the water treatment plant. It was capped during the mid-twentieth century and is no longer in use.
Well #3 is the primary source of water for the Village. Drilled in 1955 in the Ironton-Galesville formation to the depth of approximately 1,600 feet, well #3 is a deep well and the production capacity is approximately 1,200 GPM or a maximum of 1.7 MGD. Water from this well exceeds the primary drinking water standard for radium; therefore, the water must be treated prior to distribution. All other measurements for water quality however indicate that the well has acceptable water quality.
Well #4 was drilled in 1966 in the Mt. Simon formation and is approximately 1,900 feet below land surface. This well has a production capacity of approximately 1,100 GPM or a maximum of 1.5 MGD. Radium levels in well #4 meet the primary drink water standard; therefore, the water from well #4 may be used with disinfection only, if needed. Total hardness on this well is lower than well #3 and with different mineralization well #4 water will have a noticeable taste change if not treated.

Why didn’t the Village choose lake water or some other source for water?

The Village from the late 1980’s through 2008 has looked extensively at various upgrades to the Village's water production system including options for moving to lake water.

The Village Board and various commissions and committees reviewed options to move to lake water during the following periods. During each of these periods the community elected to continue using its aquifer system.
  • 1983
  • 1988
  • 1998
  • 2008
From 1998 to 2008 the Village conducted extensive research on various options for rehabilitating the Village’s aging water treatment plant. Over a nearly ten year period a Water Study Group comprised of current and former elected officials, Village Staff and water industry professionals developed a report reviewing and comparing the various factors associated with different water source and treatment options. Public meetings to discuss the report and receive public input were conducting during 2007 and 2008. In 2008 that report was published by the Village and can be found at the links below.

2008 Water Study Group Report

Water Study Report - 2008 Ad Hoc Water Group Water Study Report Appendix 01 - Lake Water
Water Study Report Appendix 02 - Lime Processing
Water Study Report Appendix 03- Reverse Osmosis
Water Study Report Appendix 04 - History
Water Study Report Appendix 05 - Status of Equipment
Water Study Report Appendix 06 - Quantitative Benefits
Water Study Report Appendix 07 - Contributors and Members

What is the age of the Village's Infrastructure?

The Village has over 52 miles of water main, of which approximately 26 miles or 46% is over 60 years old. An additional 17 miles is more than 40 years old resulting in approximately 77% of the Village water main system that is more than 40 years in age. The Village is served by three wells. Well #1 was constructed and put into operation in approximately 1928 and is currently utilized as the Village’s emergency well. The Village’s two primary deep wells, #3 and #4 were each placed into operation in 1956 and 1965 respectively. The Village’s distribution system is also serviced by an elevated tank at Spring Rock Park and a standpipe located near Garden Market. The elevated tank was erected in 1961 and the standpipe in 1977. Since the late nineteen-nineties the Village during its roadway construction projects has installed new water main in most cases. The goal was to eliminate the old 4” water main in the Village and that project has mostly been completed. There is however still a large portion of the Village’s infrastructure that is beginning to reach the end of life.

How is the Village's water infrastructure funded?

The Village operates using fund accounting. A fund is a self-balancing set of accounts, segregated for specific purposes in accordance with laws and regulations or special restrictions and limitations.Each fund has a distinct purpose, ranging from operating expenses to funding the various activities or capital project of the organization. Fund accounting is a system of accounting which emphasizes accountability rather than profitability and monies from various funds cannot be transferred to other funds.

The water fund, which handles all of the Village's operational and capital expenses for water production and distribution is an enterprise fund. An enterprise fund establishes a separate accounting and financial reporting mechanism for municipal services for which a fee is charged in exchange for goods or services. Under enterprise accounting, the revenues in expenditures of services are separated into separate funds with its own financial statements, rather than commingled with the revenues and expenses of all other government activities.Water and sewer infrastructure has been funded by general obligation debt and low interest IEPA loans that are repaid through user charges from the enterprise fund.

More detailed information regarding the Village's budget can be found through the Finance Department and the annual budget.

How often is maintenance required on the Village's wells?

Maintenance on the Village's well system is typically infrequent. Approximately every ten to fifteen years the wells do need to be pulled and reconditioned. This reconditioning typically involves the reconditioning of the well pipe, inspection and reconditioning of the pump well and motor, and inspection of the well shaft.

Maintenance typically takes approximately six weeks depending upon the volume of work needing to be done. Below is information on when each of the wells have last been reconditioned.

  • Well #1 - 2014
  • Well #3 - 2015
  • Well #4 - 2010
Wasn’t the construction of the new reverse osmosis plant supposed to fix problems with our distribution system?
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) currently rates the United States’ water infrastructure as “poor”. Water production systems across the country have infrastructure that was constructed during the mid-20th century and those systems are now reaching the end of their life. Much of the Village’s infrastructure for the water system dates from the 1960’s or earlier and improvements to Village’s system began with the reconstruction of our new water treatment plant. Further improvements to the entire distribution system will be needed, all of which would require upgrades regardless if the Village was on aquifer or lake water. These upgrades include improvements to the Village’s water towers, residential meters, and water mains.
The Village’s water fund is an enterprise fund and improvements are not paid for with property tax dollars. The Village also does not have a large sales tax base to supplement funding so improvements to the water infrastructure are funded almost entirely through the water bills. Unfortunately water infrastructure is also one of the most expensive to replace and upgrade. The replacement of one block of water main costs approximately $100,000 and with nearly 52 miles of main within the community there is a substantial capital investment which will be required moving forward.
Information regarding the Village’s water infrastructure can be found in the 2014 Water Infrastructure Report. Additional information on the United States’ water infrastructure can be found on the ASCE 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Does this Village have emergency connections to other communities?

Yes, the Village does have emergency connections to other communities. Those connections are only to be utilized under emergency situations and can only be used for short periods of time. The connections are not large enough and the communities do not have the infrastructure provide the Village water for extended periods.

How can I receive updates regarding this project and other Village news?

Updated information regarding the Village construction projects is posted on the Village website at Residents can sign up for the email or text notifications for either the “Community News” or the “Municipal Services Department” section on the site under "Notify Me". Both sections are receiving updates ongoing projects in the Village. Clicking on the “Notify Me” button on the right hand side of the Village website will take you to the signup page.