Kilbourn Reservoir Update - January 2002


Water Works, with the help of Schreiber-Anderson Landscape Architects, met with members of the Riverwest community at two public meetings in mid-2000. In those meetings, a concept was developed of how to rebuild the Kilbourn Reservoir and park area (on the north of E. North Avenue) in a manner that would meet the needs of the Water Works and also enhance the property and the community's enjoyment of it. The concept that was developed included a concrete water tank embedded inside the bowl of the reservoir and completely concealed by the hill.

Subsequent to those meetings, Water Works did a complete review of the rationale and basis for replacing the Kilbourn Reservoir. The analysis challenged our beliefs that the reservoir was an essential part of the distribution system. In fact, the results showed that with some modifications to pumps, pipes and valves, an ample supply of water would flow to needed areas without any reservoir at all. This was good news for the Water Works, as we had anticipated that the cost of replacing the reservoir would be about $9 million.

Water Works intends to make the necessary modifications to the pumping and distribution systems and not replace the reservoir. The major components of the modifications are:

  • Two new pumps will be installed at the North Point Pumping Station (at the east end of E. North Avenue by the lakefront). These pumps are smaller than the existing pumps and are rated to match current and future daily use. This will occur in March 2002.
  • A pressure-reducing valve will be installed just south of the intersection of E. Garfield Avenue and E. North Avenue. An underground vault will be constructed for this valve. This will occur in April and early May 2002.
  • The piping that enters the reservoir will be isolated from the rest of the distribution system. Construction and excavation will take place in E. North Avenue in front of the pumping station and in E. North Avenue at the intersection of N. Bremen St. This will occur in April and early May 2002.

By mid-May 2002 the distribution system will be functioning without using the Kilbourn Reservoir. We plan to do this through both a winter season and a summer season to validate our operating procedures. That would mean that by summer 2003 we would be ready to embark on work at the site of the existing reservoir and adjacent park area.

As it stands now, the Water Works will not require any water storage or pumping facilities in Kilbourn Park in the future. The Water Works seeks to understand how this change in our needs might affect the community's use and enjoyment of the park. Water Works remains firm in our commitment to include community input as we proceed with this project.

C. Lewis, 1/15/02