Tom Weathers, Superintendent
History of Water Production in Glencoe
Prior to 1892 Glencoe residents received their drinking water from private wells, or directly from Lake Michigan. In 1892 water mains were installed in the Village and connected to the Village of Winnetka's new water works. In 1925 the Village formed a three-member water commission to issue bonds for the construction of a water treatment plant and pump station. The Glencoe Water Plant was built in 1928 for about $500,000 with a design capacity of three million gallons per day. Improvements and the addition of two filters in 1952 increased capacity to eight million gallons per day. Glencoe also provided water to the Village of Northbrook until they built their water plant in 1963.
The Water Plant can produce 8,000,000 gallons per day; however, as much as 7,083 gallons per minute (10.2 MGD) has been pumped. Average daily production is about 1,800,000 gallons per day or almost 200 gallons per person per day. Peak consumption is nearly three times the average day.
The water system begins at the intake pipe well-out into Lake Michigan. On the shore end of this pipe there is an underground structure called the suction well. Water is pumped from the suction well by the low lift pumps into the rapid mix basin. In the rapid mix basin chemicals are added and mixed to start the purification process. Water flows from the rapid mix basin to the slow mix basins and then to the settling basins where most particulates are settled out. The water is chlorinated to disinfect it and then sent on to the filters where the water is cleaned of any remaining impurities.
Many improvements to the plant and its equipment have been made over the years. In 1990, the original 1928 low lift pumps were replaced. Rehabilitation of the 1952 motor control center replaced the electro-mechanical auto-transformer starters with electronic reduced voltage starters and two variable frequency drives. The replacement of all rapid and slow mix equipment was also done. In 1994 a multi-year replacement project of all the plant windows was begun.
In 1996, the four 1928 filters were re-built utilizing state-of-the-art, gravel-less under drain systems and rotary surface washers. New filter control consoles and valve operators were also installed. The control room panel was redesigned, and many new digital electronic devices plus an uninterruptible power supply were added.
Beginning in 1998, and phased in over a three-year period, a new computer automated system was installed. The system automates many functions of plant operation and increases reliability and efficiency by freeing the operators to perform system maintenance and other duties. The system also prepares reports required by regulating authorities.
The Village Water Plant laboratory is certified by the State to perform bacteriological and chemical analysis. The water undergoes testing at least every four hours at the plant and is monitored by State laboratories on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Results of these tests are relayed to residents via the annual consumer confidence report published and available to each resident every year in June.
Today, Glencoe is fortunate to have excess capacity available when many towns are finding their supplies inadequate. Due to the efforts of plant staff and the Village Board's commitment to on-going capital improvement, Glencoe has a water plant capable of providing its citizens with adequate volumes of high quality water at a reasonable competitive cost.
Should you have any questions regarding water quality, please contact Water Plant Superintendent Tom Weathers at 847/835-4183 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about safe drinking water and lead levels in water production in the Elevated Lead Level Pamphlet.