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City nears approval for water system improvement loans

DIXON – The city is getting closer to winning Illinois Environmental Protection Agency approval for loans that would finance nearly $10.7 million in water system improvement projects across the next several years.

The city will host a public hearing within the next 2 months for those who want to comment on the project plan, and the agency likely will approve the loans following the public comment period.

The revolving loan program offers low interest rates to governments as well as partial loan forgiveness and extended payback periods.

The project plan is split up in five phases for 5 years, and it involves repairing or replacing 31,140 feet of water mains throughout town.

Work would start in spring 2021 with replacing 1,450 feet of water main on South Galena Avenue from Fourth to River streets and fortifying 2,530 feet of water main along River Road with cured-in-place pipe, a trenchless repair method. Those projects will total slightly north of $2 million, according to project documents.

The next year consists of installing 3,960 feet of the cured-in-place pipe on North Galena Avenue from Fourth Avenue to McKenney Street for about $1.63 million.

Phase 3 in 2023 will be replacing 6,300 feet of water main along Woodlawn Road and Lincoln Avenue for around $2 million.

Phase 4 includes replacing 4,720 feet of water main along Washington Avenue, replacing or constructing 1,480 feet of water main on North Jefferson Avenue and Marclare Street, and replacing 3,100 feet of water main on North Dement Avenue. That work will cost around $2.87 million.

The last phase will involve replacing 7,600 feet of water main along state Route 38 for about $2 million.

“The proposed projects are being completed to improve the city’s distribution system by replacing old water mains that are aging, undersized and have a history of breaks,” according to the project plan.

The loans will be paid back across 2 decades using revenue from water fees.

In 2016, the City Council approved increasing water and sewer rates, each by 6 percent for the 3 years, followed by automatic increases of 2.5 percent per year.

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