Herrin plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken area - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Herrin plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken areas

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HERRIN (WSIL) -- Herrin's mayor is making plans to send millions of gallons of water out west, to an area plagued with drought.

Steve Frattini went to a water conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought.

"The desperation in the people's eyes is much more than what you can read about," Frattini said.

So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The water is from the Wastewater Treatment Plant and while it is clean enough to drink, it would end up in the Big Muddy River anyway.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be used to transport the water, and Frattini said some work needs to be done before the city can send water.

"We could come close to doing it right now, but to do it more efficiently, we would need to put in a loading loop and some things like that to make it a smoother process," Frattini said.

Initially, Frattini said the water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern California, a sea that's been drying up for years.

"That has created a toxic dust bowl and the incidents of respiratory illnesses and afflictions has just skyrocketed," Frattini said.

But now, depending on who ends up signing an agreement, Frattini plans to send water out to areas in Utah, Arizona, and southern California.

He wants to send around three million gallons a week out west and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

"That won't be a tremendous amount of money by any means, but it's new revenue to the city and revenue that we have never ever experienced before," Frattini said.

Frattini doesn't expect the water to completely meet their needs but any little bit helps.

He said he hopes to have the plan up and running in the next 12 to 18 months.

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