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Engineering Starts on Boulder Hill Water Project

Staff members from Engineering Enterprises Inc. will be out in Boulder Hill surveying areas that will need water main replacements. They'll ask before coming on to private property, village officials said.

If you live in Boulder Hill, and you see someone hanging around your yard with surveying equipment, don’t worry. It’s all part of the ’s effort to fix the rusty water problems in that area.

Starting this week, staff members from Engineering Enterprises Inc., the firm that serves as the village’s engineering consultant, will be performing field surveys in the areas that need water main replacements. That includes cul-de-sacs throughout Boulder Hill with dead-end or undersized mains, as well as the areas that have recently been experiencing rusty water problems.

That means surveyors will need to access private property along public rights-of-way. They won’t be excavating anything, or taking down fences, trees or structures—in fact, they won’t be permanently altering the property in any way, village officials said.

You’ll be able to tell official surveyors by the EEI logos on their shirts, and their silver EEI pickup trucks. They’ll ask permission before going on private property, and won’t ask to go inside your house, garage or shed. If someone purporting to be from EEI asks to be let into your home, call the police at 630-897-8707.

And you can always verify the name of an EEI employee by calling the company at 630-466-6700.

These surveys will go on for the next few months—Engineer Pete Wallers of EEI estimates that this part of the process will last through September. Montgomery is looking to replace or loop about 20,000 feet of water main beneath Boulder Hill, a project that could be completed by mid-2014, and may cost as much as $7.8 million.

The goal of the project is to permanently alleviate the rusty water issues Boulder Hill residents have been seeing for years. Wallers and his team have identified 30 different sections of main beneath three specific areas of Boulder Hill, making up about 12.5 percent of the full system, for replacement or upgrading.

On Monday night, trustees agreed to spend $186,300 on the first phase of the project, which includes preliminary engineering, a water rate study, and a water loss audit, to determine where leaks are in the system.

Of that last one, Wallers said the village knows it loses a certain amount of water to leaks in the pipes each year, but has never done a study to find out where the leaks are, and how much is seeping through each one. The study is recommended by the American Water Works Association, Wallers said.

The village can pay for the project in one of two ways. Village leaders can take out a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, for which they have already applied, or they can raise water rates for Boulder Hill residents.

The water rate study, to be performed at the same time as the preliminary engineering, will allow Wallers to put together more exact cost estimates for the project, and determine how much higher Boulder Hill water rates would rise to pay for it.

Boulder Hill residents have been paying more for water service since the village took over the system—this year, they will pay $6.03 per 1,000 gallons, while Montgomery residents will pay $4.90—because, Wallers said, the operational cost of Boulder Hill water is more. This includes the frequent water main breaks in Boulder Hill, which sometimes number two to three times those in Montgomery.

Check back with Patch for further details on this project as it progresses.

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