In 2017 the Village Board decided to take the proactive approach of removing all of the lead water service lines in the Village. As part of this process the Village identified 106 properties in Montgomery that had lead water service lines running from the water main to the meter inside the property.
Beginning in October 2019 the Village awarded a contract to remove and replace all the lead water service lines in the Village. This work was performed at no cost to the property owners. The project began with resident notification, community meetings and site reconnaissance of each property to determine the scope of work required for each property. The Village provided educational materials outlining how the work would be constructed and what to expect during the removal and installation of the new service. In addition, the Village secured a $1 million dollar grant (forgivable loan) from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Public Water Supply Program (PWSLP) to help offset costs associated with this project. Montgomery was the third community in Illinois to receive a forgivable loan to remove lead water service lines.
According to Mark Wolf, Director of Public Works, “This project couldn’t have been so successful without the partnership of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI) and their entire team, Brandt Construction and their dedication and coordination of this project, and all the homeowners in Montgomery for understanding the importance of this project and letting our team enter their homes to replace the lead lines.”
Peter Wallers, Village Engineer added, “Something we all take for granted is how water gets into our homes; water supply and delivery is critical to our customers. I commend the Village President and Board for taking on this issue and finding ways to help offset the cost to homeowners to make this project feasible for everyone to accomplish the end goal of being lead free.”
Wallers commented on the lead line process: “The technology that was used for this entire project was very cutting edge. We couldn’t have even attempted this project 10 years ago. Witnessing the process was incredible – the multiple-step process of drilling from the watermain into someone’s home and having the drill hit its mark within 12 inches was amazing.”
Wolf stated at the September 14 board meeting, “Fortunately for the Village the residents that were able to capitalize on this program saw the benefit to themselves and their home, they really saw the value that they were receiving from this project.”
Ultimately this type of project will become more common in other cities and villages as time moves forward. Montgomery, EEI and Brandt Construction were on the forefront of replacing lead lines - from directional drilling, to asbestos abatement, grounding rods and other complications encountered shows what a complex project it was. It was truly a community effort to complete the goal of having Montgomery become a lead-free system.
Matt Brolley, Village Board President closed the discussion by stating, “This is an awesome goal for the Village to accomplish. Having Montgomery be on the forefront of being lead free and being able to pay the cost, so not to burden homeowners, is a huge milestone and everyone involved should be very proud.”