Progress is being made in the expansion of a water district in Cass County.
According to the Cass County Star-Gazette, the Cass Rural Water District approved an agreement last month during a board meeting that gives the district the right to provide service within a mile of the Village of Chandlerville.
The settlement voids an agreement from 2004 that was the basis for a decade-long federal lawsuit between the villages of Virginia and Chandlerville.
Virginia sought over $400,000 in costs incurred from building a new water treatment plant to add Chandlerville to the CRWD customer base. In January of this year, the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by Virginia. Chandlerville pulled out of the agreement after balking at the water rates that were set as part of it.
The district completed a USDA grant application in March for full federal funding of the Sangamon Valley Township Water Line Project, according to water district chairman Jeff Cosner. He says the CRWD continues to seek grand funding.
Cosner told us in mid-August the project is estimated to cost $705-thousand.
“This extension project started about a year-and-a-half ago when we had a few people that live on that route come to us and said there was a need for water. When you look at where you’re going to run a water line, you try to look at where you can run your line and get your biggest bang for your buck. And so, we didn’t realize it, but after we had a public meeting with a group of people that were on this line and wanted to see if there was any interest if we would run a line down there, we had great interest in it. So, right now, the project looks like it’s a go,” says Cosner.
“We’ve got about eight-and-a-half miles of pipe that we’re going to put in- four and six-inch- that will make its way down the highway and end up pretty close down to Chandlerville.”
Cosner added that in July, the Cass Rural Water Board signed agreements for legal and engineering services for the expansion projects. He says easements still need to be acquired, but that construction could start by next summer.
“You know, it’s all about creating loops and being able to get water from other areas. Say, for instance if the Virginia plant should go down, then we’re able to bring water from Chandlerville back up to Virginia, or vice versa,” he says.
“That’s just the way the whole rural water development starts to work, is how can we keep connecting the dots to help other municipalities in case of a crisis if somebody has a water plant go down?”
Cosner says Cass Rural Water currently has about 90 customers and sells water to Ashland. With the extension, he says the hope is to pick up another 30 customers.