Rend Lake Conservancy District prepares work for second main wat - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Rend Lake Conservancy District prepares work for second main water line

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BENTON -- A multi-million dollar project is in the works at Rend Lake, hoping to avoid another crisis like the one last week.

Administrators at the Rend Lake Conservancy District are planning a second water line from the main plant, a project that's been in the works since last year.

It's just a coincidence construction is expected to start so soon after the first line failed.

175,000 people had little to no water because a pipe burst at the Rend Lake Conservancy District plant. RLCD general counsel Larry Sanders said a second, parallel line should prevent that from interrupting service.

"Certainly I wish that this year, we would have replaced the three-and-a-half feet of pipe instead of the three-and-a-half miles of pipe but this is the project that we planned years ago and that we're proceeding with," Sanders said.

The conservancy district will spend $3.5 million dollars to build the second line-- running alongside the first line on Marcum Branch Road in Benton, going under I57, and then running by Benton Camp Road before joining another line near the railroad tracks east of Route 37.

$300,000 comes from the Delta Regional Authority, and the rest comes from the conservancy district.  

"You can say that but that is really from all of our water customers," Sanders said.

Sanders said water lines like the one at the plant typically last 100 years, but the line that broke was 50 years old.

He said that's typically when companies examine their systems.

"Any responsible company is going to start thinking about what should be done, what has been done and what needs to be done.">

But he admits Rend Lake waited just a bit too long, but at least with the second line, it will allow crews to temporarily shut down the first line without causing a disruption.

"There will be times when we run one or the other, which will give us the ability in our system to do repairs," Sanders said.

And this isn't the only line Rend Lake has built recently. The district has spent more than $8 million on six projects since 2011.

"This is not the first time we've put in a parallel line and it won't be the last time," Sanders said.

And Sanders said above all else, officials are trying to be responsible when it comes to the region's water.

Sanders expects work on the second line to wrap up in May of next year.

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