From Great Lakes Echo:

Before the wells dry up and the sewers overflow, a northwest Chicago suburb has teamed up with an all-star squad of planners to guide future water policy and use.

The small village of Lake Zurich gets drinking water from an aquifer that is pumped faster than it can recharge, according to studies. The water also has low levels of radium, which means treatment and extra costs for the village.

And the village’s sewer system is strained to capacity, stirring fears of a double digit sewage rate increase to fix the problem, said Rich Sustich, village trustee, who is spearheading the water planning effort.

“When you have this nexus of issues like we have – drinking water, storm water and wastewater, it forces out-of-the-box thinking,” Sustich said.

In January, Illinois approved Lake Zurich and nine other communities in the northeastern part of the state to tap Lake Michigan for water because of growing concern that the groundwater they use now will dry up. Studies indicate that population and economic growth will cause water use to increase even if conservation measures are taken.

Lake Zurich is not ruling out sticking a straw into Lake Michigan, but has decided to take a more calculated approach.

“Most people don’t realize that there are substantial costs to get drinking water from Lake Michigan,” Sustich said. “You don’t just tap right in.” Read more.

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