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.

Facts About Your Water

Apr 26, 2017, 13:47 PM
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.