City officials learned on Monday night that they can no longer hope for a simple and inexpensive fix to its raw water intake on the Kaskaskia River.
Alderman Terry Beesley, chairman of the city council’s water and sewer committee, passed on the bad news after months of working on the project.
Beesley has been in regular contact with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative who agreed to look into the problems with the intake.
That intake has been largely unusable since its installation in 2005, due to sediment deposits. The city spent about $950,000 on the intake installation.
Beesley said that the Corps of Engineers representative told him recently, “There’s really no easy fix. It’s nothing that we can fix ourselves.”
He said that he was given three recommendations, none of which would be inexpensive fixes.
They include increasing the amount of riprap upstream from the intake; building a second dyke near the intake; or getting a license that would allow the city to occasionally dredge the river bottom in the area of the intake.
“It’s kind of a dead end,” Beesley said told the council on Monday night.
Mayor Rick Gottman said the city has learned from several sources, including the Corps of Engineers and local contractor Andy Craig, that the problem with the intake is that it was installed too low.
The only real fix, a costly one, would be to raise the intake, to prevent the collection of sediment.