Rockford Leaders Unveil Multi-Million Dollar Revamp of City Water System

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Water should never look like this. And after years of some customers turning to bottled water in fear of their own taps, the city of Rockford is not standing still. Tuesday, leaders unveil a $75 million overhaul of its water system.

"I want our people throughout this community to feel like and to know that it is not only safe, but a good deal to drink our water," Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said.

The three year proposal would modernize Rockford's aging water system. While the city argues its water is in the clear, it still has problems which can't be overlooked much longer.

"When you start putting radium, iron, and manganese together, you start finding that we have a significant number of wells that are not providing the service we'd like to provide," Public Works Director Bill BIttner said.

However, the biggest headache is radium. In fact, the state's environmental watchdogs are forcing the city to take care of five troubled wells by 2009. However, officials say reliability, not radium, is the driving force of the water plans.

"It is not, however, the primary purpose of this project. The primary purpose is to get the water quality for the customers to the level it ought to be," Bittner said.

But higher quality means higher water bills. The plan would jack up water costs by nearly 40 percent over the next three years. Mayor Larry Morrissey says while the costs are necessary, he's not going t jam it down taxpayers throats.


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