LRSD

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Lakes Region Sanitary District—Then and Now

It is the mission of the Lakes Region Sanitary District to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the District; as well as the environment; by providing a state of the art system for the collection and transmission of wastewater to the Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility in Fox Lake at an equitable price. Funding for the District comes from a combination of property taxes, connection and permit fees, and user charges.

The movement for a sanitary district began in 1970 and grew out of a need to stem the pollution of local area lakes and tributaries to the Fox River due to poorly performing septic systems, along with a concern for public health. The Lakes Region Sanitary District was established as a government agency under the Illinois Sanitary District Act of 1936 in 1972.

In 1977, the District entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Lake County Public Works to transmit sewerage from the District to the new regional treatment facility. The first District sewer line was constructed in 1978.

Today, the District encompasses approximately 11,000 acres (17 square miles) in unincorporated Lake County and portions of neighboring Villages. The District owns and maintains more than 75 miles of sewers, 1,800 manholes and 20 lift stations. The District has grown from 1,200 customers in January, 1981 to over 5,550 customers in January, 2010. Total budgeted expenditures for fiscal year 2010 are $3,783,200.00. The District operates from one office location; employing six full-time, and 1 part-time, employees.

The District is governed by a Board of Trustees. The three members of the Board of Trustees (President, Vice President /Clerk and Treasurer) are individually appointed by the Lake County Board for a 3-year term. Day-to-day operations of the District are accomplished by District staff (District Manager, Financial Manager and office staff, Operations Manager and field staff, and outside consultants for engineering and legal affairs). See our Contact Us page for the listing of these individuals.

Board meetings are generally held on the second Thursday of each month (Schedule) at 7:00 PM at the District office in Ingleside. The meetings are open to all area residents. Those who wish to have items included in the agenda should contact the District Manager at least 10 days in advance of the meeting. Return to top.

The Sewer System

Why it is needed

Sewer systems are developed to dispose of waste matter coming from toilets, sinks and drains in buildings. Failure to provide adequate disposal of this matter; known as wastewater; results in foul odors, the release of harmful bacteria; such as E.coli; and suspended solids and chemicals that affect the environment. In short, the increased algae, reduced oxygen and murkiness resulting from inadequate treatment of wastewater destroy the ability of a stream or lake to support wildlife; fish, frogs and other life forms quickly die. In addition, once water becomes infected with these bacteria, it becomes a health hazard.

In rural areas, septic systems provide an adequate means of disposal and treatment. A septic tank is a large concrete or steel tank that is buried in a yard and holds approximately 1,000 gallons of water. Septic systems operate like a private treatment plant. In time, if not properly cared for, or as they age, septic systems can become less reliable and leach raw wastewater into the ground creating hazardous conditions.

In urban and suburban areas with greater population density, and where there is much more wastewater to treat, sewer systems are needed to transport the wastewater to a treatment plant.

Given the attraction of the Chain of Lakes for water recreations such as fishing, boating and swimming; along with the population growth beginning in the 70’s and continuing today; the need for a sanitary district is evident.

How it works

Ideally, a sewer system is completely gravity-powered. Pipes from each house or building flow to a sewer main. Periodically, manholes are installed along sewer mains to allow access to the main for maintenance purposes. The sewer mains flow into progressively larger pipes until they reach the wastewater treatment plant, usually located in a low-lying area. Sewer mains will follow low ground, downhill to the plant whenever possible. In places where gravity cannot do the work, the system will include pumping stations to move the wastewater along to the treatment plant. Most of a pumping station is constructed underground, however a building is usually provided to house emergency generator equipment.

Once the water reaches the wastewater treatment plant, it goes through several stages of treatment involving screens, pools and chemical treatment. Once finally purified, the water is discharged back into lakes, streams or rivers.

Keeping it all running smoothly

The Operations and Maintenance team are in charge of the many facets of maintaining the District’s system. Maintenance includes monitoring the pumping stations routine and emergency operating programs and alarm systems; inspections for corrosion control and of new connections; and required electrical, mechanical and physical maintenance to insure uninterrupted service, including periodic testing of the generators. As a major effort for preventive maintenance, the entire system of pipes is periodically televised to detect areas showing signs of wear, including force mains, gravity lines and manholes. In addition, coverage is provided for after hours emergencies. Return to top.