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Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Program

Northeastern Groundwater Protection Planning Region (Kane, Kendall, Will, and Kankakee counties)

The Northeastern Groundwater Protection Planning Committee has assessed their efforts, and the following provides a summary of these actions:

  • Abandoned Well Sealing Program - The Northeastern Groundwater Protection Planning Committee has developed a well sealing program to promote and accelerate the proper abandonment of inactive water supply wells. Well abandonment guidelines and a tracking spreadsheet have been created to facilitate the implementation of this program. In addition, advertising brochures have been printed and distributed to each of the county health departments to assist in promoting this effort. Furthermore, the Committee has provided each county health department with up to $300 to promote/publish the well sealing program or to offer free/reduced prices for a well sealing permit. The well sealing program involves the purchase of large amounts of bentonite, at a reduced cost, and providing it to private well owners at cost, or free of charge, to seal their well. Any monies collected are then used to purchase additional bentonite such that the program becomes self-supporting. The Committee also maintains an adequate inventory of bentonite at each county health department so that materials are readily available. The tracking spreadsheet provides minimal statistics to document the success of this program on a county-by-county level. To date, steady progress has been observed, and recent activities and management changes should help to further promote this program.
  • DuPage County Middle School Teacher Training Workshop - The Northeastern Committee assisted SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) in development of a groundwater curriculum for DuPage County middle school teachers in September, 2006. A workshop was conducted by representatives of SCARCE, with the assistance of Northeastern Committee members, that provided training to middle school teachers in groundwater principles and teaching techniques. The participating teachers also received over $250 worth of materials for teaching groundwater science in their classrooms, including a tabletop groundwater flow model constructed to reflect the local hydrogeology.
  • Groundwater Education Lending Libraries - The Northeastern Committee continues their effort to refresh/purchase additional groundwater education materials to keep the lending libraries up to date. Currently, the two available lending libraries that the Committee has are housed at the Kendall County Health Department. The Committee is in the process of evaluating different outreach methods to inform middle school teachers and the public about the availability of these lending libraries. Members of the committee are also in the process of developing an inventory of the groundwater education materials to provide to the press and other media outreach mechanisms, list in monthly newsletters, and feature in public service announcements.
  • Will County Groundwater Field Day - The Northeastern Committee, the Will County Health Department, and the City of Joliet sponsored and conducted a groundwater field day for Will County water professionals on April 27, 2006, at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park Theatre, Joliet, Illinois. The agenda for the field day included presentations on gravel well replacement, radium removal techniques, and hydrous manganese oxide pilot testing and operations. Additional speakers included Dennis Duffield, Joliet's former public works and utilities director, who discussed improvements made to the current water system, adding additional capacity, water treatment methods for radium removal, and planning for future challenges. The final presenter was Bon Mui, Joliet's capital program engineer, who discussed current water system operations and improvements to the booster stations under the current capital program. Training renewal credits were provided to both Licensed Environmental Health Practitioners (LEHPs) and water supply operators that attended the workshop. This workshop was the second time that the Committee has been able to offer training renewal credits for water supply operators and the first time for LEHPs.
  • Kendall County Groundwater Field Day - The Northeastern Committee hosted a groundwater protection field day entitled "Groundwater Management in Kendall County," held at the Kendall County Health Department on May 24, 2007. Training renewal credits were again provided to both LEHPs and water supply operators that attended. Agenda items included: "An Update on Regional Groundwater Resource Investigations in Northeastern Illinois" by Allen Wehrmann, ISWS; "IDPH Water Well Program Updates" presentation by Bob Cowles, IDPH; "Water Well Systems and Components" by Steve Liberg, Prairie State Water Systems, and Sue Bohenstengel, Executive Director, Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals; "Staying Ahead of the Water Demand Curve - United City of Yorkville Water Works System Expansion" by Jeff Freeman, Project Engineer, Engineering Enterprises; and a tour of Grand Reserve water treatment plant provided by Brian Sorensen from the Yorkville public works department. Other speakers included Daniel Horvath from Resource Consulting, and Chair of the Northeastern Committee, who spoke about the Committee and the resources they have available to the region, and Steve Curatti, Kendall County Health Department, who gave statistical data on groundwater resources and growth within Kendall County. Positive feedback was obtained through participant surveys that were collected after the event.
  • Groundwater Research Student Grant Program - In September 2006, the Northeastern Committee awarded its first student research grant to Heidi Kelly of Northern Illinois University. Ms. Kelly's research involved an evaluation of the biodegradation of atrazine in groundwater in Kane County. As a requirement of the student research grant, a presentation of her findings was provided to the committee in May 2007 by her advisor, Dr. Melissa Lenczewski. Additional grants to students whose research area or residence is within the five-county priority groundwater region will be provided by the Committee as a continuing contribution to the region and the state.
  • Kane County Water Resources Study - The Kane County Water Resources Study was initiated in 2002 by using the services and expertise of the ISWS and the ISGS. The planned five-year study consists of the development of a conceptual model of the geology and hydrogeology of Kane County, the compilation of a comprehensive database of digital geologic and hydrogeologic information for the county, the design of a three-dimensional numerical model of the aquifers below the county, and the creation of detailed geologic maps and cross-sections of the subsurface geology of the county. This information will be used for planning and management purposes upon the completion of the study in late 2007 and early 2008. Significant progress has been achieved in understanding the complex nature of the groundwater resources of the county. Members of the Northeastern Committee and the communities of Kane County are participating in the study through review of monthly study updates provided by the ISWS and ISGS as well as attendance at biannual update meetings. Through this participation, the communities of Kane County provide input to the study, inquire as to the status of the various aspects of the study, and provide updates on water supply planning, development, and management activities in the county to the researchers for inclusion in the study. A summary of the Kane County water resources study is provided in Chapter IV, Section 5.
  • Kendall County Groundwater Study - The ISGS and ISWS are conducting a scientific study of the geology and groundwater resources of Kendall County, Illinois. The project, contracted by the county and many local communities, has been under way since June 2005. The purpose of the study is to provide technical information and support for the sustainable management and protection of the county's groundwater. The scientists are especially interested in evaluating the groundwater's long-term availability and sensitivity to contamination. As part of its study objectives, the ISGS has conducted sediment sampling throughout the county, collected surface geophysical profiles, and drilled and installed observation wells in key areas of Kendall County. The preliminary results of the study were presented to members of the Committee in May 2007. The final report is expected to be completed early in 2008. Municipal officials and other county stakeholders anxiously await the completion of this study to better make sound resource decisions as the growth in the region continues.
  • Northeast Regional Water Supply Planning Group - To consider the future water supply needs of Northeastern Illinois and develop plans and programs to guide future use that provide adequate and affordable water for all users, including support for economic development, agriculture and the protection of our natural ecosystems, a regional water supply planning group was formed in 2006. The Northeastern Committee continues to monitor the workings of the planning group and assist with its efforts to quantify future regional water demand and to determine the proper courses of action to ensure the viability of the region's water resources. A summary of the regional water supply planning groups is provided in Chapter IV, Section 5 of the 2006-2007 Biennial Comprehensive Status and Self-Assessment Report.
  • Northeastern Committee Member Receives Governor's PATH Award - Northeastern Committee member Ann Muniz of Downers Grove was honored with the Governor's PATH (People Are Today's Heroes) Award for her outstanding work to increase awareness of threats to groundwater supplies. Mrs. Muniz was a community advocate in responding to widespread contamination of private wells in parts of DuPage County and assisted Illinois EPA in implementing the RTK law that requires increased notification and community outreach when companies cause off-site contamination impacting private wells and other environmental hazards.

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