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Village Vision News

Successful ten-year project results in water flowing to Oreana

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The concept of regionalization has come full circle with the completion of a water main to connect Forsyth with Oreana. Oreana residents began receiving water from Forsyth’s water treatment plant Nov. 27 following approval from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

An eight-mile water pipeline from Forsyth’s water treatment plant to midpoint halfway between Greenswitch and Brush College roads fulfills a 2007 agreement between both municipalities in which Oreana can purchase water at the same flat rate of $2.37 per 1,000 gallons as Forsyth residents. That same agreement stipulates a monthly usage limit of four million gallons. Oreana will have a water meter, maintain its own water mains and bill its own customers.

Village Administrator Mike Miller said the intergovernmental agreement is a good example of how governments can work together for the greater good.

“I view this as a way governments should work – with each other, not against,” he said.

Government officials, including former Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Peoria), helped secure $500,000 in federal monies in 2004 to help pay for Forsyth’s $5.9 million water treatment plant. One of the stipulations tied to Forsyth’s reception of the grant was a consideration that it would allow other communities to hook onto its system. Regionalization was encouraged with Oreana, which also received at that same time $250,000 in federal grant monies to build its own pumping station and pipeline.

Mayor Hap Gilbert recently reflected on the initial groundwork beginning in mid-2003 that enabled LaHood, who now serves as the U.S. Transportation Secretary in Washington, D.C., to consider Forsyth for the grant. The mayor said arriving at the point where 300 homes are now being served with Forsyth water took longer than expected.

“I am gratified that the process proved to be a good one. The reason why grants are important is because this one helped us out to get quality water as well as our neighboring community,” he commented.

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