What You Need to Know About the Water Plant Intake Pipe Cleaning

What You Need to Know About the Water Plant Intake Pipe Cleaning

Kiraly_webBy Village Manager Phil Kiraly

The maintenance and replacement of the Village’s aging infrastructure and other capital assets is planned on a rolling 10-year basis, as part of the 10-Year Community Improvement Program (CIP). This planning allows staff to prepare both financially and logistically long in advance, which is often necessary to accommodate major infrastructure projects. However, despite this thoughtful planning, sometimes unscheduled maintenance is required in special circumstances—such is the case with the cleaning of the Glencoe Water Plant intake pipe which begins on Monday, August 21.

To give you a little background, during the week of July 31, a biennial inspection of the intake pipe, which extends 3,300 feet into Lake Michigan and is the major source of Glencoe’s water, revealed an excessive build-up of sand and sediment within the pipe itself. The good news is that the build-up doesn’t compromise the quality of our water, as any sand and sediment is ultimately removed during the water treatment process. The bad news is that a comprehensive cleaning of the intake pipe is necessary so that the sand and sediment doesn’t prevent adequate water flow into the Glencoe Water Plant.

The cleaning of such a large pipe is a complex process and few contractors have the ability to perform the work. Once the issue was identified, the Village acted quickly and contracted with Northern Divers USA, Inc. of Spring Grove, Illinois to begin this process starting Monday, August 21 and continuing through Thursday, August 24. Over the course of this past week, they worked to set up the pumps and other equipment on the lakefront to allow for work to commence on Monday.

While the timing of the cleaning is not ideal, it is necessary to ensure that this critical maintenance can take place before any significant change in weather and while a contractor is available to the Village. Let me say that if it were possible to delay this work until the cooler months, we would have worked to see that take place. However, that was not possible given the constraints with contractors and their timelines. Ultimately, our first responsibility is to our residents and businesses who depend on the Village to ensuring our water infrastructure operates effectively at all times, and as such, that is why we are working steadfastly to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Here’s a few important points you need to know:

  • The cleaning of the intake pipe will require the use of seven diesel engine pumps operating continuously from the morning of Monday, August 21 until cleaning is complete, likely sometime on Thursday, August 24, to flush out the sand and sediment. The pumps will push the build-up back out into lake as the sand and sediment is not harmful to the environment as it is naturally part of the Lake Michigan environment. 
  • It is likely that these pumps will generate a significant amount of noise, the extent of which won’t be known until pumping begins on Monday. Know that we will do all we can to limit the sound of the pumps, but we ask especially our lakefront neighbors for their patience and understanding.
  • The pumps have been located on the beach (view a map here) just south of the Glencoe Water Plant and will extend out into Lake Michigan. For the safety of our residents and Glencoe Beach patrons, the water will be closed Monday, August 21-Thursday, August 24 due to the dangerous undercurrent that the pumps will create. No swimming, sailing or kayaking near Glencoe Beach will be permitted.
  • While the water will be closed, Glencoe Beach will remain open. (In fact, it’s a great place to witness the solar eclipse on Monday!)

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Public Works Director, David Mau, at (847) 461-1116 or Water Plant Supervisor, Alex Urbanczyk, at (847) 461-1651.

As always, I and the Village staff appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we prepare to complete this important maintenance work for the Glencoe Water Utility.