Utility Division

The Utility Division has 10 employees and is responsible for operating and maintaining the Village’s water distribution system and sanitary sewer conveyance system.  The water distribution system includes 182 miles of water main, four elevated storage tanks, one ground level reservoir, three pumping stations, and two backup wells.  The Utility Division staff is also responsible for maintaining 2,517 fire hydrants, 2,251 valves, and over 9,681 water meters.  The sanitary sewer system includes 140 miles of sanitary sewer main and eight sanitary sewer pump stations. Sanitary sewage treatment is provided by North Shore Water Reclamation District at its Gurnee treatment facility.  The division also assists the Community Development Department and the Engineering Division in plan review of all underground utilities and final inspections of projects.
  1. F.O.G. (Fats, Oils and Grease) Program
  2. The Fats, Oils, and Grease (F.O.G.) program is designed to keep Gurnee’s sanitary sewer pipes clean and reduce the number of back ups. This is accomplished through the use of grease interceptors. A grease interceptor is required on any carwash facility and any facility which processes, sells, or serves food.  
     
    The Utility Division currently maintains a database of all grease interceptors within the Village. This database contains the business information, maintenance, and/or repairs made to the interceptors. The Utility Division performs visual inspections of the interceptors throughout the year to ensure they are operating and functioning properly. There are well over 100 grease interceptors within the Village inventoried in the F.O.G. program.
  3. Facts About Your Water
  4. The Village of Gurnee’s water is purchased through the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLC/JAWA) and comes from Lake Michigan. The Village has one, three million gallon reservoir and four water towers that make up the storage system for the Village’s water supply. The water distribution system is comprised of 182 miles of water main and approximately 10,000 service connections. 

    Gurnee's water is considered moderately hard. Its hardness is approximately 8 grains per gallon or 137 milligrams per liter as CaCO3.

    Water is a basic building block of life, yet we often take it for granted. Modern plumbing brings water to our homes and businesses, often giving the impression that we have an endless supply of water. However, the amount of water on the planet is actually finite. Approximately 3% of the earth’s water supply is fresh but less than one third of 1% is available for human use!
     
    Is Your Water Safe to Drink?
    A number of newspaper articles and television news programs claim that the water industry does not adequately safeguard local water supplies. Although most of the water industry has an aggressive program of self-monitoring for contaminants, many of the nation's smaller water producers do not have the resources to test for all known contaminants.

    Gurnee residents are fortunate, Gurnee's water is produced by the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency. The Agency has a state-of-the-art treatment facility in Lake Bluff that uses the latest technologies for water treatment. The Agency also has an on-site laboratory that routinely and frequently tests water quality.

    If you are interested in seeing an analysis of the treated water that the Agency produces, call (847) 295-7788 to obtain a copy. A detailed report will be sent at no charge.
     
    Quality Control at CLCJAWA
    The Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency is dedicated to one primary goal: to produce consistently safe, high quality water; water that is free of bacterial and chemical contamination. The Agency meets this goal by setting its standards very high -- much higher than is required by current state or federal regulations. Its standard for water clarity is more than five times better than what the State requires, and the Agency routinely produces water more than ten times clearer than required.

    An aggressive water monitoring program is only one of the safeguards the Agency uses to insure high quality water. A state-of-the-art treatment process is a critical factor, as well, and consists of multiple barriers to protect you from any contaminants that could exist in either the source water or the treated or "finished" water.

    As a primary barrier, the Agency uses ozone, a very powerful disinfectant and oxidant, which destroys most disease-causing bacteria and breaks down any chemical compounds in the source water. The second barrier is filtration, which removes any remaining bacteria or chemical compounds that may have survived the initial ozone barrier. The granular activated carbon used as a filter media has been found to be very effective in removing small particles in the water and, in combination with ozone, also has the very beneficial effect of removing taste and odor problems. Finally, chlorine is added to the finished water to act as an additional barrier, providing protection as the water travels through the pipelines to your home or place of business. We are very fortunate to have Lake Michigan as our source of water. It provides a reliable, easily treated water source, that is of the highest quality of any of the Great Lakes.

    Tours at the Paul M. Neal Water Treatment Facility
    Public tour days are held at the Agency's Water Treatment Facility, 200 Rockland Road, Lake Bluff at 1:00 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month, and at 10:00 a.m. on the last Saturday of each month. Call (847) 295-7788 to confirm the date and time you plan to tour the facility. Everyone is welcome, and there is no charge.

    Special tours can be arranged for interested groups. The Agency will make every effort to customize the tour to meet your groups needs.

    Winter Water Changes
    Because the system uses Lake Michigan as its source, you may see some seasonal changes in the water you receive. The most obvious is temperature.

    During the summer, tap water will usually be 55º F or above; whereas during the winter, temperatures will range between 35º F and 45º F. The colder winter water temperature can sometimes produce a cloudy or milky appearance. In most instances, this cloudiness does not indicate any problem with the quality of the water, but is actually air or dissolved oxygen. Air stays suspended in cold water for longer periods of time. If cloudiness remains after the water stands for several minutes,contact the Gurnee Water Department at (847) 599-6800.

    Another winter phenomenon that can be encountered is icing on or in Lake Michigan that obstructs the intake pipeline, causing a temporary reduction in the volume of water that can be withdrawn from the Lake.

    Most instances of icing last only a few hours and do not affect the Agency's ability to meet the requirements of all of its member communities. The Village maintains its well pumping equipment as a backup water source. The Agency works closely with the Village's Water Department to minimize any interruption of service.
  5. Fire Hydrant Flushing Program
  6. The Village has over 2,500 hydrants that need to be maintained. Using GIS software, each hydrant is mapped and numbered by the Utility Division. One of the best ways to ensure hydrants are functioning properly is to flush them annually. The Utility Division has determined that all odd numbered hydrants are flushed in the fall, even numbered hydrants are flushed in the spring and all dead end hydrants are flushed during both the spring and fall flushing.

    The procedure for flushing hydrants involves opening one of the three ports of the hydrant and allowing the water to flow wide open for one (1) minute. For the hydrant to operate properly, crews check for ease of opening and closing, ensures that water flow stops when the hydrant is shut down, and if any water remaining in the barrel drains down below ground level into surrounding soil. If a hydrant does not perform all of these functions, the hydrant must be repaired. Hard turning or inoperable fire hydrants can be a serious problem for the Fire Department during emergency situations and any leaks within the hydrant can be a source of water loss and a major cause for hydrant freeze up during the winter months.
  7. Hydrant Meter Rental / Tanker Fill Station
  8. The Public Works Department rents contractors hydrant meters and offers tanker fills for obtaining large volumes of water for construction and/or building projects within the Village. An application needs to be completed with the appropriate deposit submitted to the Public Works Department before a meter is issued.
     
    Two methods for obtaining large volumes of water are available:
     
    Tanker Fill: This method is ideal for those who have their own tanks or tanker trucks and need to move the water to various locations. To request permission to fill a tanker at our Public Works Department, please fill out the Tanker Fill application form and return to the Public Works Department.

    Hydrant Meter Rental: This method allows you to obtain water from fire hydrants for construction and/or building projects. Two hydrant meters are available for rental:
    1” hydrant meter is utilized for garden hose applications such as masonry work, power washing, general construction, and landscape watering; 3” hydrant meters fit connections for utilizing fire hoses, which are primarily used for filling large tanks or tankers that need volume.  Large volume fill is allowed if the tanks or tankers have the proper backflow prevention device installed on the unit. Prior to contractors obtaining water, all tanks or tankers must be inspected by a Public Works employee for verification.  If the tank or tanker does not meet these requirements, the only option to obtain water would be using the tanker fill at the Public Works facility.  Please fill out the Hydrant Meter Rental application and return to the Public Works Department.

    Contractors obtaining water from the Public Works facility for the first time must check in at Public Works to set up an account and to receive directions for the fill site.  A Public Works employee will meet the contractor at the fill site to explain the process for filling and how to properly fill out the required paperwork.
  9. RPZ Backflow Testing
  10. Backflow prevention devices are used to protect the Village’s water supply from contaminants and pollutants. Common uses for backflow devices are fire sprinklers, lawn irrigation, chemical injectors, fountain drinking machines, machine shops, and car washes to name a few. The backflow devices on these service lines will stop contaminants from flowing or siphoning back into the water mains. Residences or businesses that have these devices must have them tested annually by a licensed plumber that is certified to test rpz’s by Ordinance 96-47.

    Please be advised that the Village has contracted with Backflow Solutions Inc. (BSI) to administer our Cross-Connection Control / Backflow tracking program.  As of September 1, 2013, all test reports must be submitted via BSI Online at www.bsionlinetracking.com. Please contact BSI at 800-414-4990 or bsionline@backflow.com with any questions.
     
    Thank you for your assistance with ensuring the safety of Gurnee's drinking water.
  11. Sanitary Sewer Maintenance
  12. The Utility Division is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the Village sanitary sewer conveyance system and pumping stations. The Village’s sanitary sewer system includes 140 miles of sanitary sewer main and eight sanitary sewer pumping stations. 
     
    Sanitary sewage treatment is provided by the North Shore Water Reclamation District at its Gurnee facility.
  13. Utility Locating
  14. The Village of Gurnee became an active member of J.U.L.I.E. (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) in 1991. Since then, Public Works has the responsibility for locating Village-owned and maintained underground utilities such as water, sanitary, and storm sewer lines, as required by State Law.  The J.U.L.I.E. locate service is free to any homeowner, contractor, and/or excavator and is performed by the Public Works Department.
     
    In order to perform this service, Public Works utilizes the latest underground piping locating equipment, a user-friendly interactive online mapping system, and a specialized software program. 
     
    Public Works employees are available to respond to any J.U.L.I.E. locate request during normal business hours and for all after hour emergency locate requests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The employees respond to all emergency locate requests from a natural gas leak to a late night water or sewer repair. Public Works makes every effort to accurately dispatch, locate, and document each and every J.U.L.I.E. locate request.
     
    For more information on the J.U.L.I.E. service, please visit their website: www.illinois1call.com.
  15. Water Main Breaks
  16. There are many situations that may cause a main break such as water surges, bad water main pipe, corrosion from surrounding soil conditions, settlement of the surrounding soils, damage due to improper bedding of water main pipe, nicked or scraped pipe by equipment, large boulders pushed on top of pipe, or loose service clamps from expansion and contraction of the pipe with fluctuating water temperatures. Water main breaks are not necessarily a geyser of water; sometimes water will leak at the surface or run underground and may not be found for some time.
     
    Once it is determined that there is a leak or break in a water main, Public Works personnel call and process a J.U.L.I.E (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) request for the repair. This informs the utility companies in the area such as gas, electric, telephone, and other underground utilities that an excavation will occur and their respective utilities need to be marked. Once a crew is assembled, the employees ready the necessary tools and equipment to repair the leak or break on the water main.  Employees utilize map books which depict water main size, service connections, and past main break repairs for reference on the water main.  A traffic control plan must be developed and set up if a road closure or a detour of traffic is needed for the job site.
     
    Once the water main is excavated, the crew makes a decision whether to shut the water off or not. If the main needs to be shut off, notification is made to all affected residences and/or businesses in person that the water main needs to be shut off and why.  If no contact is made, a card is left indicating the date and time of the shut down. In the cases of small leaks, the crew can make the repairs with the water on. Crews make every effort to turn the water back on as soon as possible.  Most water main breaks require a clamp that incorporates a rubberized membrane with a bolted, stainless steel outer sheath that pulls the membrane tightly around the pipe and over the leak.  The clamps are stronger than the actual water main pipe and make a permanent repair.
     
    After the clamp is secured, the water main is flushed to ensure that any foreign material from the repair is removed.  This is achieved by opening the closest hydrant to the repair site and allowing the water to flow for at least one minute.  The hydrant is then shut down and the repair is inspected for any leaks.  If the repair has been successful, the excavation can be backfilled utilizing sand around the repair and topping the excavation with gravel up to the surface.  If concrete or asphalt has been removed, a temporary repair will be made using an asphalt cold patch until a more permanent repair can be made.
     
    If you notice what you think to be a main break, please contact the Public Works Department at 847-599-6800 during the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday or the Police Department at 847-599-7000 after these hours.
  17. Water Meters
  18. Currently, the Utility Division is installing the Badger Orion automated meter reading system. This system consists of the Badger ADE (Absolute Digital Encoder) water meter with an Orion radio transmitter unit.
     
    The Orion radio unit allows Public Works to read the water meters to without entering the premise. The radio transmits a reading and any trouble code it detects, such as tamper, leak, reverse flow, encoder error, or stuck meter.  The radio collects and stores a reading every hour up to a maximum of 100,000 readings.  The Utility Division can retrieve this information if a resident or business owner has a concern about their water consumption.
     
    After the meter reading routes are collected, they are sent to the Finance Department. The meter readings are loaded into the billing system where the individual water bills are calculated and mailed out to individual residents, businesses, and commercial establishments.
  19. Water Quality Report
  20. This is your annual water quality report for the period of January 1 through December 31, 2016. Each year the Village issues this report to provide you information about the quality of our drinking water, the source of our water, how it is treated, and the regulated compounds it contains. These reports are issued in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

    For more detailed information about our water's quality, including test results for unregulated compounds, contact Melissa Olenick at CLCJAWA at 847-295-7788, Brett Fritzler at Gurnee Public Works at 847-599-6800, or visit the CLCJAWA website at www.clcjawa.com

    Este informe contiene informaciόn muy importante sobre el agua que usted bebe. Tradúzcalo ό hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.

    2016 Water Quality Report
    2017 Water Quality Report

     

  21. Water Valve Acceptance Procedure for Water Service Installation
  22. New construction involving water service installation requires the installation of a service valve which, per Gurnee Municipal Code, becomes the maintenance responsibility of the Village. Piping after the service valve remains the responsibility of the property owner to maintain.

    Learn more about the Water Valve Acceptance Procedure Document.