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City ready to begin improving sewer system

Council authorizes construction of storm sewer lines

The city of Morris is taking steps to begin its long-term control plan to improve its storm sewer system, as required by the state.

The Morris City Council approved action last week to authorize construction of sanitary sewer improvements in connection with its long-term control plan project, which is required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. This will eliminate any overflow from heavy rains going into the Illinois River or creeks.

Years ago, like most cities, all the city’s sewer lines went directly into the river or into Nettle Creek, which flows into the river. As health regulations have required of all communities, the city constructed a sewage treatment plant to treat the sanitary sewer flow before it is released into the river. Also through the years, law has required sanitary and storm sewers to be separate.

But during heavy rains, it overflows the sewer lines and the overflow discharges directly into the creeks and river. The IEPA is no longer allowing this.

Morris’ plan is to put in alternate, larger sewer lines in a four-year process.

"In order to start the project, we had to pass an ordinance that explains what the needs are, the approximate cost and the approximate life span of the project," Mayor Richard Kopczick said Friday.

The council's action also gives authorization to acquire any needed easements for the project. The improvements to the original sewage treatment plant will be part of the first phase of the project.


Also, with from a recommendation from the Water and Sewer Committee, the council passed an easement agreement with Mineral and Land Resources Corporation for the Dwight Road storm water sewer project.

As part of stipulations for a grant the city received previously to redo Illinois Avenue, the city had to take jurisdiction of Dwight Road, which was the old Illinois 47, from Pine Bluff Road to the Illinois River. With that, the city is required to maintain the ditches.

The area the city maintains is very flat, and, therefore, consistently gets drainage buildup and is costly to clean out, Kopczick said. The city decided to look into diverting the drainage west to the Illinois River pits on Material Service's property.

In the long run, this will save the city money, Alderman Randy Larson said at the meeting.

Last summer, the council approved designated Motor Fuel Tax dollars for the project, but it took a long time to get an easement agreement with corporate Material Service, he said.

"Now we're looking to start putting together the bid specs for it," Kopczick said.

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