City of Jacksonville Looking at Possible Water System Expansion Eastward

By Benjamin Cox on January 15, 2024 at 11:23am

The City of Jacksonville is exploring ways to expand its water system to spur economic development.

The city council approved an engineering agreement with Benton & Associates on Monday to explore an expansion of the city’s water capacity on the east side of the city.

Benton & Associates Class A Water Operator Adam Fox explains that the city’s water system on the east end is currently overtaxed with usage: “We are looking into adding additional storage on the east side of town, out towards where the Reynolds East facility is at and where the prison is at, as well as the industrial park out there. There are certain times where that area is somewhat taxed on their water supply right now. As we look forward into the future possible businesses or industries coming in there, we want to be prepared for that to have the water supply available to meet their needs.”

Fox says that industries wanting to come to Jacksonville will often first pose the question about the city’s utility capacity. He says having ample service will maybe court more large industry: “We are at the very early stages of looking into possible sites for a new tower, possible hydraulic studies, and the overall needs of what would be out there and what the system could handle.”

Fox says the city is also looking for improvements elsewhere in the system. The city council also approved the beginnings of the lead line replacement study and updates of water mains. He says the 1955 Ranney collector well that’s located 26 miles west of the city in Scott County on the banks of the Illinois River near Naples is also needing more and more maintenance, possibly making it a long-term liability: “The Ranney well and the frequency it’s required to be cleaned and rehabilitated seems to be getting more frequent – less years between cleanings, and more costly each time. Part of this will be looking into options there for additional raw water capacity whether it be new wells or what we could do in that general area.”

Fox says all of this work will continue while work at the Wastewater Treatment Plant continues. Fox says more information from the studies and surveys being conducted are expected at future Jacksonville City Council meetings.