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Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Program

Northern Groundwater Protection Planning Region (Winnebago, Boone, and McHenry counties)

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

  • Loves Park Public Water District - For the fifth consecutive summer, the City of Loves Park and the Northern Committee collaborated on a well sealing program for residents in the five-year capture zone for Loves Park Public Water District Well #1. A student intern went door-to-door, helping residents determine whether they had abandoned wells on their premises. Over 330 homes were visited, with 91 abandoned driven-point wells identified. A private well contractor and the Winnebago County Health Department sealed these 91 driven-point wells using materials available from the reduced-cost bentonite program developed through the Northern Committee. Over 215 abandoned wells have been properly sealed since the program began in 2002. Members of the Northern Committee are working with city officials in an effort to continue this program during the summer of 2008. The City of Loves Park, in conjunction with the City of Rockford Park District, plan to abandon about 36 private wells left inactive from a 2002 study. Loves Park is also working with the Winnebago County Health Department to get additional private well information added to their database. Additional wells were closed for 15 private individuals in Winnebago, Boone, and McHenry Counties through the same reduced-cost bentonite program.
  • McHenry County Groundwater Resources Management - The geology of McHenry County is made up of many sand and gravel, limestone, and sandstone formations. These aquifers serve as the source of all of McHenry County's drinking water. As the population grows, the demand for water is rising, the potential for contaminating aquifers increases, and wastewater disposal becomes more difficult. This combination of factors made it essential for McHenry County to develop a Groundwater Resources Management Plan that addresses the complete cycle of source, use, disposal, and reuse. Effective, economical options are being devised that reflect the needs of the interested public, municipalities, and officials of McHenry County. The plan was developed with the input of county and municipal officials, environmental groups, development-oriented organizations, interested businesses, citizens, and members of the Northern Committee in active discussions of the issues to ensure widespread support. The plan is a useful tool for balancing supplies and demands and reducing the potential of groundwater contamination. The final plan was completed November 2006 and includes five sections: Groundwater Resources Management Framework, Groundwater Resources Information for Planning, Countywide Groundwater Protection Plan, Countywide Wastewater Management Plan, and Chlorides and Agricultural Chemicals: Problem Assessments & Corrective Action. More information may be found in the McHenry County Groundwater Resource Management Plan

    McHenry County officials have made significant progress in their efforts to implement key components of the Groundwater Resources Management Plan. The county has hired a water resource manager to help unify and encourage municipalities to develop sensibly in an effort to minimize potential water shortages predicted in the 2006 report. The water resource manager has created a task force to evaluate county water issues, and a final report is expected by 2009. McHenry County will start planning for future water needs. McHenry County officials want to avoid a worst-case scenario of water rationing and dry faucets. Although the 120 million gallons per day that the county's aquifers can produce appears to be more than adequate to meet current needs, the availability of groundwater resources are limited in the areas of the county predicted to have the greatest growth. Research has indicated that some of the more productive aquifers are located in rural areas and not in the county's more densely populated southeast corner. Some estimates contained within the plan predict that by 2030, Algonquin and Grafton Townships' water demands could far outstrip the supply. The plan concluded that if every municipality experienced the maximum growth allowed in their comprehensive plans, the daily water demand will jump to 164 million gallons, far exceeding what aquifers can provide.

  • Illinois Society of Professional Engineers Workshop - The Illinois Section of Professional Engineers held a workshop on January 16, 2007, at Aqua-Aerobics Systems. The Northern Committee, along with Aqua-Aerobics Systems, sponsored the workshop. The agenda included an update on Illinois EPA by Director Scott, Aqua-Aerobics Systems wastewater processes and equipment, IDOT erosion control standards, groundwater and surface water ordinances, Natural Resources Conservation Service's Illinois Urban Manual, and the Northern Committee PowerPoint presentation.
  • Youth Groundwater Festival - The thirteenth annual Youth Groundwater Festival was held March 14, 2007, at Rock Valley College. Nearly 600 Winnebago County fourth and fifth grade students attended the festival. Donations from area municipal water departments, Winnebago County Health Department, Burpee Museum of Natural History, League of Women Voters, Retired Senior and Volunteer Services, a grant from the Rock Valley College Foundation, and the Northern Committee provided funding for the event. Approximately 90 people volunteered to help put on the Festival, including members of the Committee, area educators, two high school science departments, as well as environmental agencies and groups.
  • Water Table Management Structure - The Northern Committee helped support a water table management structure, along with the Boone County Conservation District. The purpose for this project is to install a practice that will demonstrate the benefits of managing the shallow water table for crops, wildlife, increased groundwater recharge, and improved water quality. Recently the District had installed erosion control blankets, native seed plantings, and reshaped the bank. Due to recent flooding events, repairs need to be made to the tile outlet and culvert crossing. In addition, the native plant species need to be replanted to minimize erosion.
  • Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning - The Northern Committee members have participated and attended in several CMAP meetings. CMAP's purpose is to create a regional water supply planning group, develop water demand scenarios to 2050, evaluate management options, and conduct outreach and education. 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.

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