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By Mike Sandrolini
BROADVIEW | Village officials from Broadview and Westchester gathered late last week for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the new water pumping station at 10th Avenue.
This state-of-the art computerized pump station receives Lake Michigan water from the city of Chicago, which Chicago sells to the Broadview-Westchester Joint Water Agency. From there, the water goes through the pump station, where it is metered, chlorinated and pumped to Broadview and Westchester residents, as well as to the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital, Loyola Hospital and the Madden Mental Health Center.
One of the main features of the new pump station is its SCADA system, an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system.
“We’ve got three full time operators that are on staff,” at the pump station, noted Broadview public works director Matthew Ames, a member of the Broadview-Westchester Joint Water Agency. “One is the superintendent that constantly monitors the pressure to make sure that there’s no malfunctions within the system or no water main breaks. They do this by way of the SCADA system, a state-of-the art electronic monitoring system which allows them access even when they’re away from the facility.
“This is the way that they monitor the (water) tank levels—by a computer model. What it does is gives you the tank levels for the respective towns, the reserves. It also monitors the (water) pressure within the distribution system.”
Ames estimates that the new pumping station has probably decreased the number of water main breaks in Broadview by 30 to 40 percent.
“That’s significant,” he said.
Outgoing Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones—co-director of the Broadview-Westchester Joint Water Agency along with Westchester Mayor Sam Pulia—said the pumping station is going to help the village “in a lot of ways.”
“The state of the art pumps change how the water flows,” he said. “The system is going to minimize water main breaks, it’s going to make it a more even flow up and down the system. The old pumps were like a battering ram but these have a smooth flow to them and it’s going to help the system all the way around.”
Plans for a new water pump station had been in the works for years, but when Jones and Pulia were both elected to their first terms in 2009, they agreed to scale back plans for the building.
“When we looked at the plans, Sherman and I thought it was a little extravagant for the needs of the communities,” Pulia said. “It was a more elaborate building that had a clock tower in it. In 2009 when we took over they were in the planning stage. We had some drawings and it was some preliminary stuff. I think they wanted to have a meeting place to hold meetings here and it would have been a bigger footprint and a bigger cost.
“We pared it down and came up with a pump station that was very viable and it’s attractive and it’s doing the job.”
Both Jones and Pulia said they’re proud to see the water pumping station come to fruition.
“It’s been a long, arduous process,” Jones said. “We’ve had some hiccups along the way with the actual construction of the building and the pumps, but we’ve made it through. We’ve got a state-of-the-art pumping station. We’re highly responsible for a lot of important water. We pump to the Veteran’s Administration and to Loyola and to both communities so we’re very proud of this building. It’s phenomenal what they did.”
“This is an awesome feeling,” Pulia added. “This is a 21st century building but it has all the bells and whistles, the SCADA, and remote things that we can look at and the latest and the greatest until something new comes along.
“It’s always been about clean water. I know certainly the lead dilemma of Flint, Mich., (in 2016) had everybody worried. But we’re receiving clean water; we test it here (at the pumping station), it’s tested in the city of Chicago, it’s tested again in Westchester. The water from here goes directly to their tanks. In Westchester, not only do we test in residential places but we test it again in our storage facilities as well and add chlorine because it’s traveling a distance.
“Our focus (referring to himself and Jones) is the continual testing and making sure that what you’re having at your house is the cleanest water that you can get.”
New Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson toured the facility after the ribbon-cutting ceremony and said, “I think it’s exciting to have something state of the art, especially when we’re talking about water quality. I’m so new to this so I’m still learning what it all really means, but water safety is our primary focus as it relates to public safety.”
Thompson, a former Broadview library trustee, won a decisive victory in the April 4 election, succeeding Jones.
“I’m very excited to do some great things and move Broadview forward,” she said.
Jones, who was not allowed to run for a third term after residents voted for a ballot measure to put in mayoral term limits, will continue to serve the village as a trustee. He won election as a trustee as part of the Broadview People’s Party—the party with which Thompson is affiliated—on April 4.
“It’s bittersweet,” Jones said. “You leave and you hope you had some unfinished business that you wanted to finish that you just didn’t have enough time to finish. But it’s all good. We’ve got a good mayor coming in and she’s going to do good.
“I’ve got every confidence that the village is going to keep moving forward.”
Thompson is one of three new mayors in the West Suburban Journal readership area. Former Westchester mayor Paul Gattuso, whom Pulia succeeded in 2009, will be sworn in on May 9 after running unopposed. Pulia decided not to seek a third term. Andre Harvey is Bellwood’s new mayor, succeeding Dr. Frank Pasquale who has retired.