The Village of Romeoville’s Well No. 3 project is the first permitted, permanent application of ultraviolet (UV) technology to treat bacteria in groundwater in Illinois. Well No. 3 is a high capacity well and an integral component in the Village’s potable water system, which services 52,000 citizens through more than 16,000 connections in northeastern Illinois. Before this project, the well was very unreliable, as it often had to be shut down for several weeks at a time to treat recurring bacteriological growth. Because of this, the Village faced expensive, risky, and environmentally unfriendly options to address the overgrowth: pour treatment chemicals down the well or abandon the well and attempt to construct a new one at a cost upwards of $4 million.

The team focused on finding an alternative solution to keep the well free of bacteria by researching outside-the-box approaches. Although not commonly used to treat groundwater, nor ever implemented in Illinois, the team determined that UV was a promising permanent solution that would also save the community more than 90 percent compared to traditional solutions. Overcoming many obstacles of implementing a new application of UV treatment, our team obtained IEPA’s approval of UV for this unique use and also proposed dosing requirements for 4-log inactivation (99.99 percent), which IEPA subsequently adopted. After a successful 4-month trial period, these dosing requirements are now an IEPA standard for future UV applications to treat contaminated groundwater wells in Illinois. The positive effects of this project have just begun to ripple through the community by producing higher quality water while maintaining low rates. The Village was able to achieve its goal of preserving Well No. 3 in a highly cost-effective and environmentally conscious manner, which now provides safe and reliable drinking water to the public.

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