Evanston’s Utilities Commission is recommending that the city replace, rather than repair, its aging 1934 water storage reservoir, and staff says the $20 million project can be financed without raising water rates to Evanston residents.

Aldermen tonight will be asked to approve hiring a consultant to develop detailed plans for a new reservoir that would overlap the site of the current one — but be moved slightly east, covering the existing Campus Drive, so the Northwestern University access road could be relocated just west of the new reservoir.

The Utilities Commission, after reviewing a 233-page report prepared by the consulting firm CDMSmith, says that over the long run building a new reservoir, with an estimated 100-year life span, would be cheaper than spending about $5 million now to repair the reservoir, which would only give roughly 30 more years of life to the structure before it would need to be replaced.

The commission said it also favors replacement because the new structure is likely to provide more reliable service than the aging one, which would need inspection and repairs every five years.

An analysis prepared by CDMSmith summarized in the chart below, concludes that replacement would be cheaper that repairs assuming the cost of borrowing was less than five percent.

Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says the city likely will be able to finance the project through a loan from the state Environmental Protection Agency at a 2.5 percent rate.

In addition, he says, the Northwest Water Commission, Evanston’s largest water customer, would end up paying roughly 91 percent of the total of more than $25 million in principal and interest payments over the 20 year term of the IEPA loan.

The rest of the cost would be split between Evanston and Skokie, with Northwestern University picking up the estimated $800,000 cost of moving the reservoir’s footprint to the east, Stoneback says.

The consultants looked at two repair options — one would completely replace the reservoir roof, the other — slightly less expensive — would build a new structural roof on top of the existing one.

They also considered two options for moving the existing reservoir to a new location — either on the southeast corner of Sheridan Road and Milburn Street adjacent to the water plant or in Leahy Park, on Lincoln Street just west of Ridge Avenue. Both of those options turned out to be slightly more expensive than using the current site.

Related stories

Aldermen OK reservoir planning study (4/10/14)

Study to explore six water reservoir options (3/21/14)

City makes case case for new reservoir (10/28/13)

Projected cost of water reservoir project soars (10/2/13)

Related documents

City Council 1/26/15 Packet (see item APW2)

Treated Water Storage Recommendations presentation

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Detailed plans

    I'm sure the "consulting firm CDMSmith" would be happy to "develop detailed plans for a new reservoir" that they recommended.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *