Since everyone isn’t on Facebook, I am posting Marc’s latest story here:
What does it take for residents to have a water-quality problem fixed? Apparently, a lot of public activism. For nearly two years, the neighborhood at Grove and Ruston has been experiencing substandard water quality with issues such as brown water, bad taste, and ruined laundry. There have been many complaints during this period and the photos you see were sent to the town earlier this year.
The town has taken some recent steps to mitigate the brown water problem, but they do not go far enough. Staff have inspected the lines in the area and in the homes, installed a new fire hydrant, and have begun flushing the main on a bi-weekly basis. Unfortunately, these are only stop-gap measures, and problems have recurred several times. The most recent incident was in September.
Staff has acknowledged that the water main needs to be replaced. Looking towards a more permanent solution, the town created a water main replacement entry on the community investment plan. Unfortunately, the $770,000 project was listed as “not recommended”, and was not scheduled for any time in the next five years.
I find this troubling. Resources are available to solve the problem, but they are being used for non-essential items instead. This is evidenced in the community investment plan. While the Grove and Ruston repair was shelved, a new, “critical” project appeared—the installation of water service to far west College Avenue. This was given fast-track priority over the residents’ concerns, but despite the designation, it has been admitted this would simply be redundant service.
Town staff confirmed in a council meeting on September 8th that the current service to west College has had no complaints regarding water quality or capacity in over 30 years. The existing infrastructure was capable of supplying Mitsubishi and all its supporting business in that corridor at production levels far exceeding Rivian’s most optimistically projected numbers. There is no compelling need for this spending.
Between the $250,000 approved for engineering and the planned $560,000 expenditure next year, this represents more than it would cost to fix the faulty pipe for our neighbors who are having brown water problems right now.
Let me be clear, this is not about Rivian. They are currently well-served by a water system that exceeds their needs. (Bloomington) This is about the town trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist at the expense of residents and their very real concerns. Provision of clean drinking water is one of the absolutely essential functions of our local government, and tax-paying citizens are the ones who make that possible. Their needs should be our highest priority.
Out of concern for our neighbors, please contact the town and urge them to move forward on replacing the deteriorating water main serving Grove and Ruston. It should not have to come to this, but with public input, we can bring the situation to the attention of those in charge.
You can reach your representatives at http://il-normal2.civicplus.com/forms.aspx?FID=70
https://www.normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3732 – pages 51-60
Meeting video: https://youtu.be/PaVKBDh8Rec?t=2230