Five Will County communities have joined to form a new water agency and purchase a pipeline from Illinois American Water, officials announced Monday.
The villages of , Homer Glen, , and are now part of the Northern Will County Water Agency. The first meeting was held June 11.
The agency will now likely look to take action against Illinois American Water and overtake the pipeline that carries Lake Michigan water from Bedford Park to the west suburbs via eminent domain.
The communities have been been meeting for several years to discuss the feasibility of purchasing the pipeline and stabilizing rates for residents, according to a press release.
In August, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on Senate Bill 83, which allowed the communities to formalize the consortium.
Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves said the agency will work with attorneys in the coming months to come up with an offer to purchase the pipeline.
"It's going to take some time, but we're finally taking the steps to come up with a dollar figure to bring to Illinois American Water," Reaves said Monday.
Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar says the move will , but Illinois American Water says the agency will likely rack up attorney fees while using eminent domain.
"History has shown using eminent domain to acquire a utility system is extremely expensive, risky and a divisive endeavor that will increase the costs to the public," said IAW President Karla Olson Teasley in a statement.
The new agency will primarily serve residents in Bolingbrook. The other four towns each have a much smaller population served by the pipeline, officials said.
Claar and Homer Glen Mayor Jim Daley will serve as co-chairs of the agency. Reaves will serve as the vice-chair, Romeoville Mayor John Noak as secretary and Woodridge Mayor Bill Murphy as treasurer.
The agency's next meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 10 at Homer Glen Village Hall, 14933 Founders Crossing.
Editor's Note: Brian Feldt contributed to this report.