Water and sewer rates will rise again next year as River Forest hones in on costs associated with the Northside Stormwater Management Project.

Phases Zero and One of that enterprise will cost as much as $14.1 million. And to pay for it, the village has turned to increasing the rate customers pay to maintain the water and sewer systems.

That increase is expected to go up as much as 88 cents per 100 cubic feet of water starting May 1, according to a memo from Village Administrator Eric Palm to the board of trustees.

While the exact hike won’t be known until bids for the work come back in March, Palm said officials were “pretty confident about the estimates.” 

Increases put in place the past two years will pay off a loan that River Forest will get, most likely from the state Environmental Protection Agency, to cover the costs of Phases Zero and One of the project, the largest in the village’s history.

Phase Zero work on Thatcher has been completed and work on an outfall structure is expected to start this week, Palm said. This entire part of the project includes installing an outfall, a 96-inch diameter sewer that will run from the cul-de-sac at Keystone, across Thatcher and end at the Des Plaines River. Construction and design for this phase was $1.5 million. 

Of that cost, $600,000 will be paid via a short-term loan, village officials said. Any work constructed before the IEPA loan is approved cannot be paid off with those proceeds, Palm said. 

Bids for Phase One will go out next month for work that will encompass an area from Greenfield on the north to Division on the south, Harlem on the east and Thatcher on the west. Construction is expected to start in April 2015, with all pipe in the ground and pavement restoration finished by May 2016. Estimated construction cost will be $13.5 million. 

Word of the loan approval could come by March, Palm said.

Phase Two will be on hold until engineers assess how effective Phase One was in curbing flooding. The cost of that stage would be about $7. 1 million and tack on an extra 82 cents above and beyond the rate increase going into effect in May, according to village estimates. 

On the village’s radar screen since the 1970s, the North Side Sewer Project was a top priority of Village President Catherine Adduci and the village board of trustees and is viewed as a strong flood prevention measure that ultimately will help raise property values. 

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