Phase I water program to be done
Soda Ash, CO2 to help fix Lowell
By Kathie Godfrey
LOWELL - Just one week after the referendum that could have
transformed Lowell into a city was defeated, frustrated, angry residents
packed the council chambers Monday to register their ongoing water woes
with the town's elected officials.
Bearing a pitted saucepan less than a week old, Charles Albin
said the town's acidic water had rusted two brand-new sets of stainless
steel cookware in a month.
"What is my wife supposed to cook dinner
with?" he asked the council.
Albin asserted that the town's interim filter program
- in which whole house filtration systems and replacement filters will
be provided to residents free of charge - would do nothing to remove
acid from residential tap water.
Albin asked the council how long the proposed fix for
the town's water system would take.
Mark Downey of Commonwealth Engineering said phase I
of the improvement project, which would add soda ash to the water to
stabilize its alkalinity and reduce its corrosive effect on pipes, had a
completion date of February 2001. Phase II of the project which would
deliver carbon dioxide to the town's water supply in an effort to
permanently correct the town's aggressive water problems would not be
complete until late summer 2001.
Proposals for the projects would be submitted in the
next few weeks in an effort to secure state financing, he added.
But other residents were not happy with that
Ben Fortner, who presented the council with a three
page petition signed by residents, asked if funds for the proposed
filter program could by used instead for a reverse osmosis system for
the town's water supply.
"I've been here since 1994," Fortner said.
"If I had looked at the water here, I'd have moved south and dug by
Ann Corie of 1202 Hilltop Drive asked what could be
done to recoup the cost of ruined appliances, $150 monthly water bills
and $50 cleaning supply bills her family had been faced with.
"I have to go to Apple Valley once a week to
have my hair washed," she said. "My family has been through
"I'm getting mad," said Dean Henry of 408
W. Hilltop Ct., "Years ago we could have had reverse osmosis at the
plant. You're still riding a dead horse."
But Town Council President Bob Hatch (R-3rd),
defended his negative vote on the reverse osmosis proposal put to a
previous council of which he had been part.
"I decided that it was the right thing to do
based on the information I had at the time," Hatch explained.
"And I still feel it was the right decision." Hatch added that
bond investment in the current water plant would prevent the town from
changing to a RO system now.
Director of Administration Rick Dal Corobbo said the
town had received 198 water filter request forms from residents
including 25 requests for replacement filters from homes that already
have filtration systems in place. Requests for filtration systems and
replacement filters can be registered at the town hall until Nov.
Crown Point opts not to renew garbage
Board of works seeks better, cheaper deal for trash service
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The Board of Public Works decided last week not to
renew the city's contract with garbage collector Illiana Disposal, but
instead to put the service out to bid to try to get a better
The current two-year contract was signed in 1998 and
gives the city the option to extend it for two additional years.
This year, the city is paying $8.84 per house for
garbage collection. Next year's price would be $9.19 and 2002's would be
$9.56, if the city opted for the two extensions.
Jeanann Georgas Ficker, who consults city officials
on waste matters, said those charges are higher than Illiana's average
charge in other area communities.
"I am concerned that Crown Point does not have a
lower than average price from Illiana given that Illiana is right here
in Crown Point," Ficker said.
Mayor James Metros said he's gotten letters this year
from other area waste haulers, including Able Disposal, Waste
Management, and Performance Waste, who are interested in bidding on the
service. Metros said that he is happy with Illiana's service, but
"we have a window of opportunity every two years to say 'are we
getting the best price?'
"I am a little concerned we are (paying) a
little above the average," he said. "I think we can get a
better deal, even from the same company."
But in order to give companies enough time to prepare
bids, the city will have to ask Illiana officials to extend the current
contract at least two months.
And whether or not the current deal is extended for
the shorter period is Illiana's decision.
Also at the Nov. 8 meeting, the board approved an
automatic bank withdrawal program for paying municipal utility
Application forms for the program are available at
the clerk-treasurer's office during business hours and at the Police
Department any time.
Applications forms must be turned in by the fifth day
of a month for automatic withdrawal to being the next billing.
Deductions will be made automatically on the ninth day of the month
bills are due.