Pumped up: July a record-setter for Elgin water department
By Mike Danahey email@example.com August 2, 2012 8:00PM
Top water users
Here is a list of the largest water users of water sold by the city of Elgin:
1. Village of Bartlett
2. Village of Sleepy Hollow
3. Willow Lake Estates
4. Sherman Hospital
5. Elgin Mental Health Center
6. Provena Saint Joseph Hospital
7. Grand Victoria Casino
8. Villa Garden Estates
9. DS Waters (Hinckley Springs)
10. City of Elgin
11. Blackhawk Apartments
12. Henkel Adhesives
13. John Sanfilippo & Son
14. Knollwood Apartments
15. School District U46
Updated: September 4, 2012 6:15AM
ELGIN — Along with July’s record-setting heat, Elgin set city records for water pumped and probably for water used, Water Director Kyla Jacobsen said Thursday.
Data was not yet available for the exact amount of water used in July, Jacobsen said. “However, I can tell you that we pumped 592.14 million gallons of raw water in July. That compares with 537.34 million gallons in July 2005, which was during the last drought. In 2011, July raw water pumped was 537.8 million gallons.”
While numbers are still being culled, Jacobsen said that from personal observation, she knows the city’s water department was pumping 25 million gallons a day on at least three of July’s most scorching days. Numbers like those would qualify those dates as potential record-setters for most water used in a single day.
The heat and drought also meant that Sherman Hospital had to add water to its 15-acre, energy-producing geothermal lake on its campus. For that, the hospital employed a nearby fire hydrant and used a special meter hooked up to it for billing and monitoring purposes.
“They used a total of 4.58 million gallons,” Jacobsen said.
Elgin pulls most of its water from the Fox River.
“We ran some wells in May and June, as we are required to do quarterly testing on our available wells, and we didn’t shut the wells off until July 1,” Jacobsen said. “From May 2011 through April 2012, we were at 100 percent river.”
She noted that this May, 86.4 percent of the water was from the river; in June, 88.9 percent was river water; and on July 1, 99.8 percent was coming from the river.
“We have been back to 100 percent river water since July 2,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen was Mayor Dave Kaptain’s guest Wednesday on his Web-based lunch broadcast, where they touched on reasons why the high usage has not been an issue for the city.
“As the mayor noted, for every gallon we take, we put three-quarters of a gallon back in the river,” Jacobsen said.
That’s because the city is part of the Fox River Water Reclamation District, which provides wastewater treatment to about 150,000 people within Elgin, South Elgin and West Dundee, and portions of Sleepy Hollow, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates and unincorporated St. Charles Township.
After wastewater is treated, it is returned to the river. With Elgin part of the district, Jacobsen posited that for every 20 gallons the city uses from the river, FRWRD as a whole puts 23 to 25 gallons back into it.
Still, Jacobsen noted that people should conserve, “because it’s the right thing to do.”
And she reiterated a message she has been delivering a good portion of this dry summer: Those who water lawns and plants should do early in the morning or in the evening, which has maximum effect on greenery and has less water lost to evaporation.
Elgin residents are charged a flat, per-unit rate for their water. In part as a conservation move, some towns, such as West Dundee, set scaled rates, where after a certain amount is used an account is billed at a higher per-unit rate.