September 10, 2017

DuPage County’s Emergency Water Supply

If Naperville were to lose power for an extended period of time, the water that comes out of our pipes would continue to flow for several days, thanks to precautionary measures taken by the DuPage Water Commission.

“Back in 2003 the water commission did an assessment after 9/11, after some major power outages on the east coast we looked at our facilities thinking what could we do in case of emergency,” said Chairman of the DuPage Water Commission, Jim Zay. “Obviously we have bad weather here in the Chicagoland area, tornados things like that, loss of power. So we worked with the City of Chicago, it was over a $30 million project to put emergency generators at the Lexington station, and here at the water commission.”

Our water originates in Chicago, makes its way to the Lexington Pumping Station and then another 9.3 miles to the DuPage Water Commission. From there it is run through one of nine pumps and sent out to different municipalities.

If power were to go out, these massive generators would kick on – ensuring the water continues to flow for another three to four days with the diesel already stored at the commission.

But that’s not the only back up.

“All our communities are required to have two days of water storage, Naperville actually has three days of water storage,” said General Manager of the DuPage Water Commission, John Spatz. “So in an event that would knock us out, besides electrical backup we also store water for days before we’d have to have concern.”

And if the water commission received additional diesel fuel, the generators could continue to run for several more days.

“I think water utility and clean drinking water is more critical than any other utility,” added Spatz. “You can live days without electricity, you can live days without gas or your cable TV, but you cannot live days without water and people are realizing how important water is.”

Naperville receives 14 million gallons of water a day, and around 5.2 billion gallons a year from the DuPage Water Commission.

Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.

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