Flossmoor has six months to decide if it wants to purchase water through Homewood.
Homewood trustees approved an agreement between the two villages at the regular board meeting on Tuesday, June 9. Flossmoor trustees approved the agreement at their meeting on June 1.
Flossmoor had commissioned a study to consider building a pumping station at the intersection of Vollmer Road and Dixie Highway, which is still an option. But Flossmoor Public Works Director John Brunke said in a memo to Village Manger Bridget Wachtel that the Homewood option is now the primary focus of that study.
Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino said the agreement allows Flossmoor to do its due diligence before making a decision.
“This kind of gets the ball rolling so we can have formal discussions with them,” Marino said.
Flossmoor’s Lake Michigan water comes from Harvey via Homewood. That contract will expire in 2022 and Homewood is moving toward purchasing water from Chicago Heights, which is supplied water by Hammond, Indiana.
Hammond water rates, set by ordinance, will be cheaper for Homewood than Chicago’s rate.
Major improvements and updates are needed with Harvey’s water infrastructure and the city owes Chicago more than $20 million in past-due water bills. Both Homewood and Flossmoor began looking for other options last year.
Homewood contracted an engineering firm last month to do a corrosion control test required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. It will determine if switching to Hammond water, which is treated in a different way than Chicago’s, will change the water quality or have any effect on infrastructure.
The agreement doesn’t hamper Homewood’s progress toward acquiring Hammond water, Marino said. A rough draft of a contract is being prepared and he invited trustees to contact him if they’d like to offer their opinions.