The Village of Montgomery is proud to be LEAD FREE!The Village of Montgomery has achieved the high distinction of being a lead-free community. In 2021, the Village received recognition from the American Public Works Association and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois for their dedication and commitment to removing all lead water service lines from its water distribution system.
Village of Montgomery Commits to ExcellenceThe Village of Montgomery had a vision of being lead free. With that vision came the commitment to remove all lead service lines from its water distribution system at no cost to its residents. The Village's commitment was not mandated by state regulations or water quality issues; instead, it was driven by the Village's continued focus on maintaining the physical and financial wellbeing of its residents. The Village proved to be fiscally responsible by pursuing and acquiring one million dollars in principal forgiveness funds and implementing an IEPA loan eligible reimbursement program to cover internal home repairs. The residents' health and wellbeing were maintained by eliminating a potential source of lead exposure and managing asbestos abatement during construction. Through continuous public outreach and honoring its commitments, the Village achieved its goal of 100% resident participation.
The Village's vision of being lead free at no cost to the residents became a reality.
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 with 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 Brandt Construction to remove and replace all the lead water service lines in the Village. The Village performed this work at no cost to the property owners. The project began with resident notification, community meetings, and a site survey of each property to determine the scope of work required for each property. In addition, the Village secured a one-million-dollar grant (forgivable loan) from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Public Water Supply Loan 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.
"This project could not have been successful without the partnership of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), Brandt Construction, and the homeowners in Montgomery for understanding the importance of this project," says Mark Wolf, Director of Public Works.
Village Engineer Peter Wallers 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 replacement process: "The technology used for this entire project was very cutting edge. We couldn't have even attempted this project ten years ago. Witnessing the process was incredible – the multiple-step process of drilling from the water main into someone's home and having the drill hit its mark within 12 inches was amazing."
Ultimately this type of project will become more common in other cities and villages as time moves forward. Montgomery, EEI, and Brandt Construction were at the forefront for replacing lead lines. Directional drilling, asbestos abatement, grounding rods, and other complications encountered show what a complex project it was. However, it was a community effort to accomplish the goal of having Montgomery become a lead-free system.
"This is a monumental goal and achievement for the Village. Being at the forefront of the lead-free initiative and paying the cost so as not to burden homeowners is a huge milestone. Everyone involved should be very proud," says Matt Brolley, Village Board President.