OAKWOOD — Village board members voted unanimously Wednesday to solicit bids to sell the village's water system to an investor-owned utility.
Oakwood has been receiving notices from the Illinois Environment Protection Agency regarding water safety violations. The IEPA has set a deadline of July 1, 2013, for the village to make a decision on how it want to solve its water problem. The IEPA could fine the village of up to $10,000 a day for noncompliance. The village water system exceeds the "haloacetic acids water quality standard" of 60 parts per million. The village is at 62 parts per million.
"This means that if you were to drink 8 liters of water a day for 80 years, it might give you cancer," said Gerald Hartman, who works with GAI Consultants based in Orlando Fla. The village hired the professional engineer to evaluate the value of the water system.
According to Hartman, if the village upgrades the system, it will have to take on additional debt of over $3 million. This would raise water rates 65 to 100 percent.
Hartman puts the sale value of the system around $2 million. He said that the village could then charge the water system owner franchise fees and utility taxes. The village could use that revenue to pay off debts and then buy into investment programs, which would pay the village annual dividends.