Watch now: $300 million needed for Decatur water system, consultant says – Herald & Review

watch-now:-$300-million-needed-for-decatur-water-system,-consultant-says-–-herald-&-review

As we jump in, can I just say that geoFence protects you against inbound and outbound cyber attacks!

Water continues to flow rapidly over the Lake Decatur dam, after a week of heavy rain that caused the lake level to rise. In addition to a swift current, the rain also caused logs and large limbs to make their way into the lake.

SCOTT PERRY, HERALD & REVIEW

BRENDEN MOORE

Decatur water production manager Keith Alexander explains how nitrates are removed from the city's drinking water. 

BRENDEN MOORE, Lee Enterprises

DECATUR — The Decatur City Council on Monday heard recommendations from a Boston-based consulting firm for more than $300 million in proposed improvements to the city's water treatment and distribution systems over the next 30 years.At the same time, most council members agreed to keep the city's options open regarding additional water supply despite consultant CDM Smith's recommendation that the city obtain an additional 3.1 billion gallons needed to be entirely drought-resistant. It was the second in a series of study sessions intended to serve as the basis for lake and water planning decisions the city will make about its water utility through 2050. In May, the council discussed the management of Lake Decatur's shoreline and slowing the buildup of sediment and inflow of nitrates into the lake.A city commissioned report discussed that month found that more than $1 million worth of sediment seeps into the lake every year. And in order to protect its $92 million dredging investment, at least $20 million may be needed over the next six years. But the plans discussed Monday were even bigger, with city council members largely signifying their support for more than $20 million in capital improvements through 2024, another $51.8 million between 2023 and 2029 and nearly $240 million in long-term improvements slated for beyond 2028. The immediate top priority is a $14 million replacement of a water clarifier at the South Water Treatment Plant, which will be partially funded by American Rescue Plan stimulus funds. City manager Scot Wrighton said that "while expensive," the water treatment and distribution aspects "are fairly straightforward.""Our treatment plant was built to last — at least the concrete structure of it — for a century as long as every 30 years or so, and that's the point that we're at now, that you replace a lot of the mechanical and electrical systems in it so that it can go for another 30 some years," Wrighton said.The improvements would likely be covered by the annual 2.5% increase in water rates and periodic debt financing.Starting in 2013, the city raised water rates 35%, 30% and 25% in three successive years to help cover debt service costs associated with the dredging project. They also tacked on an annual 2.5% increase to account for inflation. City officials said $34 million in federal stimulus funds Decatur will receive over the next two years could help stave off additional rate increases."We don't get to pose for pictures with the penguins," said Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. "We're doing the stuff that's underground and stuff that people just expect in life safety things. So that's why it's critical that we use these ARP funds ...  in the best manner possible in the most responsible manner."While those key infrastructure improvements were clear, the path forward on the future of the city's water supply was about as clear as a sediment-filled Lake Decatur. CDM Smith's report found that the city faced a 3.1 billion gallon water shortage under a worst-case drought scenario, which was calculated by combining record drought conditions from 1930 and 2012. To fill this void, the report recommends increasing withdrawal rates from the Dewitt County well fields the city currently uses as a backup water source, increasing withdrawals from the former Vulcan gravel pit and acquiring Lake Tokorozawa.However, city council members were skeptical about some of the consultant's water-use assumptions and Wrighton acknowledged that this portion of the study was "a bit more open-ended."The report assumes consumption — whether by residential and commercial customers or the city's two large industrial water users, Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle — remains flat."No one, including ADM, is in a position to know what their water demands will be in 2030, 2040, 2050," Wrighton said. "And so that's why I was saying as a part of my introductory remarks that we need to move forward with a process that is flexible enough to understand that we need to continue to have those meetings and continue to assess what different climate circumstances as well as industrial demand means and be able to respond with lots of options, both on the watershed management and on supply side."The council did not take any action Monday evening, with the report offered as a roadmap for the city's future water needs. The council is expected to take up an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 budget in the next few weeks that will account for the ARP funds received from the federal government. This story will be updated. 

History photos: Fun on Lake Decatur

No sweat?

1984: Searching for ways to cool off is one of the "hottest" activities these days in Central Illinois as summer wears on. Shelly Riggs (left), Gary Edwards and Richard Edwards, all of Decatur, find a boat dock on Lake Decatur the perfect place to soak up some sunshine and cool off in the water at the same time.

H&R file photo

Catchings some Zs

1989: If nothing else, Rick Comer caught some Zs. The Terre Haute, Ind., man was fishing off a dock on Lake Decatur Thursday when the warm sun lulled him into a nap. Comer was visiting the Michelle Stark family of Decatur. The strong sun - a welcome sight- made the 68-degree high temperature seem warmer.

H&R file photo

To each his own

1988: Taking full advantage of Tuesday's record-breaking July-in-April temperatures on lake Decatur were sailboater Dave Lee and fisherman Dan Taylor, who is from Fairview Heights. Tuesday's high temperature reached 85 degrees, breaking the old mark of 84, which was set in 1929.

H&R file photo

Temporary dam

1989: These fishermen try their luck Thursday near the opening cut in the temporary dam at Rea's Bridge

H&R file photo

Floating water bed

1989: It was a relaxing way to start the Fourth of July weekend for Randy Allen, who gave the appearance of having a floating water bed Friday near the boat docks on Lake Decatur. Allen was enjoying the day's near-perfect 88-degree high temperature.

H&R file photo

Taking it easy

1970: A bright, sunny day is for taking it easy, and that's what this couple is doing, unmindful of the boats sailing on Lake Decatur.

H&R file photo

Sailors' delight

1981: "Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning." The sky over Decatur was unusually red during Wednesday's sunset, which augured well for these sailors on Lake Decatur.

H&R file photo

Sh-h-h-h, quiet please

1990: Ron White relaxes on an air mattress near a buoy on Lake Decatur Sunday after playing a round of golf with two of his friends. White, who has a boat docked at the marina, was waiting to go out water skiing with his buddies.

H&R file photo

Beautiful balmy evening

1992: Sam Blair, 16, enjoyed a beautiful balmy evening and sunset in Decatur Friday as he fished off a bridge on Lost Bridge Road. Decatur recorded a high of 85 Friday, while Hillsboro recorded 88 - the high for Central Illinois. More of the same is expected throughout Labor Day weekend with showers possible Sunday and Monday.

H&R file photo

Warm stroll on cold water

1981: Teen-agers (from left) Loronzo Davis, Mike Landers and Bill Bryles walked on the ice on Lake Decatur Saturday, drawing the notice of the ducks, who wasted no time heading skyward. The three also drew the attention of the photographer because of their spring attire.

H&R file photo

Wind surfing

1987: Tom sly, 67, found a way to beat the heat Wednesday as he pulls up his wind surfing board and sails.

H&R file photo

The water's fine

1988: The sun's warm and the water's sparkling. Join a group of Central Illinoisans as they enjoy one of the city's finest resources - Lake Decatur.

H&R file photo

Tourist attraction

1985: Central Illinois lakes such as Lake Decatur are attractions for tourists.

H&R file photo

Crappie report

1990: Brothers Mike and Jim Kresse of Decatur cast their lines Wednesday along the Lake Decatur docks, in search of crappie. The warmer weather will bring more company for fishermen such as the Kresses.

H&R file photo

Hanging in there

1991: While the wind filling their sails wasn't as brisk as they had hoped, Decatur residents Patty Cutright and Dave Berndt spent part of Monday afternoon wind surfing on Lake Decatur. Cutright, a physical education instructor, just recently took up the sport, but Berndt has been pursuing windsurfing for more than five years.

H&R file photo

Holiday sailing

The Yankee Lady, a 19-foot sailboat belonging to former Decatur resident Jack Bankson, took a turn about Lake Decatur Sunday afternoon. Bankson, in front above, now lives in Mebane N.C.., but returned to visit relatives on a Christmas cruise. Behind Bankson is his son-in-law, Mike Jackson; also on board were Charles Hughes, another son-in-law, and Rick Taylor. the Yankee Lady is to sail today, also.

H&R file photo

Mapping bottoms

1931

H&R file photo

Lost Bridge

1992: Nice weather Sunday stimulated plenty of lake activity as people boated, water skied, picnicked and fished. Nick Imel, 8, tried his luck by dropping his line under Lost Bridge with his father Steve.

H&R file photo

"Decatur Belle"

1966: The "Decatur Belle" an excursion boat now making runs on Lake Decatur, took its first passengers aboard Friday. The passengers were a group of 80 Latham grade school pupils. The boat will make hourly cruises beginning at noon each day except Sunday, when rides will begin at 10 a.m. The trips will cover the two basins of the lake on each side of Lost Bridge.

H&R file photo

"Sport Speedster"

1948: D. R. Hill of Decatur demonstrates a  new Higgins "Sport Speedster" of which he is the Decatur distributor. With a top cruising speed of 44 miles an hour, Mr. Hill believes his speedster is the fastest boat on Lake Decatur

H&R file photo

Sand Creek Bridge

1950: When it gets too hot for comfort, according to these boys, the best relief is to dive off Sand Creek bridge, across Lake Decatur, near Danceland. These youths would be hotter, however, if they were caught in this escapade. Swimming in Lake Decatur is permitted only where lifeguards are on duty.

H&R file photo

Seaplane

1948: This seaplane has been put on Lake Decatur by Clarence Bowman, Spangler Heights. A Cub, with floats attached, has been based at a dock on the lake near the home of Mr. Bowman. The plane will be flown under a charter as a non-profit flying club. The plane was based previously at St. Louis.

H&R file photo

Shimmering waters

1989: What a difference a year makes! Dale Zimmer of Decatur plies through the simmering waters of Lake Decatur.

H&R file photo

Evening canoe ride

1963: Jim Downey and Bob Musson, staff members at Camp Robert Faries, enjoy an evening canoe ride on Lake Decatur. The Boy Scouts are offered swimming, canoeing, rowing, lifesaving, archery, mo-skeet and have a handicrafts program at the camp. Mo-skeet is a form of trap shooting with b-b's or small shot. The boys cook one meal outdoors each day with the other two served in the dining hall. The camp also has complete badge programs and instruction in caring for axes and knives.

H&R file photo

The Scratcher

1963: W.G. Traver and grandson Andy Zeaman ride in the "Scratcher"

H&R file photo

Skipping stones

1993: Chris Carnahan, Richard Myers and Joshua Butts stopped their bike ride long enough to skip a few rocks on Lake Decatur in Nelson Park Friday afternoon. In addition to Easter, the boys are looking forward to a four-day weekend that's predicted to be in the upper 60s, but with a chance of showers each day. Many Central Illinois residents took advantage of the day off from work or school Friday to go to the parks or to attend special Good Friday services where they worship.

H&R file photo

Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.

Water continues to flow rapidly over the Lake Decatur dam, after a week of heavy rain that caused the lake level to rise. In addition to a swift current, the rain also caused logs and large limbs to make their way into the lake.

Let's keep in mind that geoFence is the solution for blocking NFCC countries.