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'We are lead free': Montgomery officials hail completion of water main replacement program

Village uses state grant to help pay for installation of new service lines to 106 homes

Montgomery Public Works Director Mark Wolf, left, and Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., address the village board during a meeting Monday evening, Sept. 14 at Village Hall.
Montgomery Public Works Director Mark Wolf, left, and Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., address the village board during a meeting Monday evening, Sept. 14 at Village Hall.

Village of Montgomery officials took a collective victory lap during their meeting Monday evening, Sept. 14 to mark the completion of the village's lead water service line replacement program.

The program involved the replacement of lead water service lines in 106 village homes at a cost of more than $1 million, according Mark Wolf, the village's public works director.

"The village is one of the first communities in the state to complete a lead service line project and should be very proud of our accomplishment," he said.

Wolf told the board the program began last fall and was completed last week by the project contractor, Brandt Excavating., Inc. of Morris.

"Brandt's staff did an excellent job of not only performing the work per the plans, but also did a great job in coordinating and scheduling with each property owner to gain access to the property to perform the necessary work," Wolf said.

In addition, Wolf said throughout the course of the project he coordinated schedules, materials and worked to resolve other issues with Brandt and with the village's engineering consultants, Engineering Enterprises, Inc. of Sugar Grove.

"This project could not have been a success without the planning and construction management of Engineering Enterprises. Julie Morrison from EEI did a great job in planning and managing this project, as well as all the members of EEI who played a role behind the scenes to make this project a success," he said.

Peter Wallers, president of EEI, told board members that it was a state-mandated inventory of all water service lines in the village in 2017 that served as the launching point for the program.

"In doing so, the village identified a number of lead service lines and it was at that time the village board directed village staff to determine how much it would cost to replace those lines. That really initiated the project," he said.

Wallers noted in 2018 the village applied for and was awarded a $1 million Illinois Environmental Protection Agency grant to help pay for the program.

"We were the second community in the state to receive one of these grants," Wallers said. "That took some time, but it was obviously well worth it."

Wallers noted that traditionally homeowners have been responsible for replacing or repairing the portion of their water service lines that extend from the shutoff valve into their homes at the meter. The cost for such replacements, however, he said can range between $3,000 and $5,000.

But Wallers said the board set a goal for village staff of completing the program at a minimal cost to individual homeowners and the receipt of the IEPA grant allowed the village to do so.

"To the best of our knowledge, we are lead free (lines) in the village," Wallers aid.

Board member Doug Maresek said he has discussed the village's program with aldermen from two neighboring communities and they were envious at what the village has accomplished.

"We are trailblazers on this," Maresek said. "My hat is off to our staff, the contractors and the board for pushing, pushing this through."

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