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Bloomington To Review Facility, Supply Needs In $170M Water Master Plan

Lake Bloomington shoreline
WGLT file photo
Lake Bloomington (pictured) and Evergreen Lake are Bloomington's two water sources.

The City of Bloomington plans to explore additional water supplies to meet an anticipated rise in demand over the next two decades. That's included in the city's proposed 20-year water master plan.
The city council will consider the plan at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at Bloomington City Hall.

Massachusetts-based CDM Smith produced the report after a three-year study of the city’s water infrastructure and supply needs.

Kevin Kothe portrait
Credit City of Bloomington
Bloomington Public Works Director Kevin Kothe said the city needs to prepare for additional water demand over the next 20 years.

Public Works Director Kevin Kothe said the city has started drawing water from two test wells near Lake Bloomington. He said that could one day supplement  water the city gets from its current sources, Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake, both located north of the city.

Kothe said the ground water produced from the wells would need a different treatment method if they are added to the city’s water supply.

“The well water has some radium in it. That radium needs to be removed. There’s also the corrosiveness of the water is different, so we need to study how to make that work with our existing infrastructure," Kothe said. 

In the past, the city has used water from the Mackinaw River pumping pool to supplement the city’s lake sources, but Kothe said that is not a practical long-term solution.

The McLean County Regional Planning Commission projects Bloomington's population will approach 105,000 by 2040. That would represent a 35% increase over the city's current population of nearly 78,000.

Kothe said based on population projections, a major drought like the city had in early 1990s could cause a water shortage.

“We’ve had a little bit of drought since then, where the water levels dropped pretty significantly in the lakes,” said Kothe. "This is just another source to help meet that future demand and not run out of water in the lakes.”

The water master plan also calls for upgrades and additional staffing that would cost $170 million over two decades. The biggest chunk of that, $79 million, would finance facility improvements, $52.7 million in water distribution improvements and $11 million in water quality and regulatory improvements.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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