The City of Highwood‘s Water Treatment Facility is located at 4 walker Avenue on the shore of Lake Michigan. The facility was originally constructed in 1938 by the Federal Water Works Agency and underwent a major renovation in the year 2000 to increase the amount of deliverable water capacity from one million gallons a day to two million gallons a day at a renovation cost of 1.09 million dollars.
The water treatment plant is allocated 650,000 gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan on a daily annual average as required by the Department of Natural Resources. Last year the facility treated 207 million gallons of water. The water is withdrawn from Lake Michigan through a water intake located approximately ½ mile northeasterly from the facility out into the lake. The raw water is treated with chlorine and coagulant that kills pathogenic organisms and removes suspended solids through a series of treatment basins and filters in the facility. After the water is treated, the water is then delivered to consumers.
WATER TREATMENT MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Utility is to ensure environmental stewardship and public health by operating and maintaining the Water Treatment Plant, and associated storage facilities in accordance with Federal and State laws, administrative rules and operating permits.
The primary responsibility of the Utility is to provide safe, healthy drinking water to the residents of the City of Highwood and to ensure proper environmental stewardship. In addition to plant operations, the Utility is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facility and storage facilities.
The Water Treatment Plant Operations Staff provides day-to-day operations of the Water Treatment Plant. Daily, the staff monitors the production of adequate quantities of water to maintain storage capacities at a minimum safety level. The Team monitors water quality by drawing and analyzing samples on a continuous basis and makes process adjustments to ensure quality of the water. In addition to monitoring plant operations, the Water Treatment Plant Operations Staff monitors storage tanks and valves. The Team prepares daily reports required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and for cost accounting purposes. All efforts by the Team are performed in accordance with operational guidelines of Federal and State Law, Regulations and Administrative Rules.
The Staff is responsible for providing chemical analysis of water and samples in compliance with all Water Treatment, and Filter Waste Water Discharge permits issued by both Federal and State Agencies. The Staff prepares and submits independent reports to Federal and State agencies as required. The Staff is also responsible for ensuring the laboratory is operated in accordance with standards established by Federal and State Laws, Regulations and permits.
The facility is staffed with two full time and one part time employees, all certified by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to operate and maintain a public water supply.
The facility operates approximately 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Certified operators are required to be on site at all times while the treatment plant is in operation. In the summer months when water demands increase due to extreme weather conditions the water plant may need to operate additional hours to keep up with the higher water consumption demands by the City’s Residents and Businesses and to maintain excess storage for emergency situations.
In case of a major malfunction resulting in the facility being unable to operate, the City of Highwood has two emergency interconnections with the City of Highland Park so that at no time will the residents or businesses be without potable water.
The City of Highwood has a one million gallon elevated water storage tank located on Sheridan Road that provides for emergency water supply during times of peak water demands, provides adequate water pressure for the City water system and for fire protection emergency reserve.
The operators on staff have multiple responsibilities. The operator is responsible for monitoring and controlling the entire water plant facility when in operations, such as monitoring pumps, instruments, control and telemetry SCADA system, valves, motors, electrical equipment, flocculators, filters, chemical feed equipment laboratory test instruments. The operator is responsible for collecting laboratory and distribution water samples for quality control and analysis, Provides adequate records, reports and documentation required to meet water quality requirements mandated by the United States and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Department of Natural Resources.
In addition, the operator performs minor and major repair work to equipment, routine preventative maintenance to equipment. The operators also assist Public Works In the event of a water main break on an as needed basis.