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Stimulus cash for Wauconda water work
By Mick Zawislak | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/13/2009 12:00 AM

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Wauconda will receive nearly $1.5 million in federal stimulus money for a long-planned water project, the first recipient for that purpose in Lake County.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced the funds come in the form of a 20-year loan to be repaid at no interest. One quarter of the amount will be forgiven by state and federal authorities, meaning it will not have to be repaid.

Wauconda will use the money for a new well, which is already built, and a water treatment plant capable of removing iron. A standby generator for emergency operation will be installed in the well house.

The system improvements represent the second part of a program to supply village water to more than 400 homes in nearby unincorporated subdivisions. That plan was formulated after potentially harmful vinyl chloride was found in some private wells near the former Wauconda Sand and Gravel landfill, a federal Superfund site, in 2003.

A consortium of former landfill users, which included the village, proposed that homes in the Hillcrest, Lakeview Villa, North Shore, Wellsmere Heights, Spencer Highlands and Elmcrest subdivisions be connected to village water as a means of solving potential problems.

That was completed a few years ago. A new well and treatment facilities to replace water diverted to those areas was the second part of the program.

"This is the second phase of that," said Village Administrator Dan Quick. The landfill user group had fronted the money to dig the well, the village's eighth, he added.

The federal stimulus money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, authorized earlier this year, and was based on entities meeting "shovel ready" requirements.

"We have to give a lot of credit to communities like Wauconda," said Maggie Carson, spokeswoman for the IEPA. "These packages are complex and require a lot of technical information."

This revolving loan program, administered by the IEPA, is intended to improve water quality through projects such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades, new sewer lines and new or replacement water distribution systems.

Illinois communities requested more than $3.2 billion for 746 wastewater projects and nearly $1.5 billion for 895 water projects. IEPA expects to receive about $260 million for both categories.