Living Green

Embrace our environment and learn more about living a greener lifestyle!  Our planet's environmental health is not only a global issue, but one that sits in our own backyard. The Village of Arlington Heights has always been led by an innovative Board that plans for tomorrow. Because of this, challenges have been anticipated and careful planning was done throughout the years to address some of the environmental and geographic challenges facing the Village.







Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award

Arlington Heights’ commitment to being a sustainable community is demonstrated through its development of programs that ensure the preservation of resources for future generations. Past endeavors have included a wide array of projects that have proven both cost effective and successful. These projects, coupled with an ongoing effort to seek out new programs that promote sustainability, have established the Village of Arlington Heights at the forefront of the sustainability movement.

Past years have seen the completion of projects that included the replacement of High Pressure Sodium Fixtures to Light Emitting Diode (LED) street lighting, LED traffic signals, parking garage deck lighting, a small solar power producing building, the installation of solar powered warning sirens and multiple recycling programs. In our Water and Sewer pump facilities alone, Water Production staff has retrofitted a total of 19 pump houses, rooms, pipe galleries or wet-well pits with energy efficient LED light fixtures.

Municipal Aggregation

On August 10, 2009, the Public Act 96-0176 amended the Illinois Power Agency Act by providing for the aggregation of electrical load by small businesses, municipalities, and counties.  Municipal Aggregation (MA) is a process by which communities combine their residents and small businesses into one large buying group. The law authorizes municipalities to develop aggregation programs for the procurement of electricity supply to residential and small business customers. 

Beginning late in 2011, staff began participating in several meetings with representatives of six other communities working together for the purpose of pursuing Municipal Aggregation (MA) of electricity supply. This MA working group was initiated by staff from the Village of Buffalo Grove, and included six communities that share boundaries with Buffalo Grove, including Arlington Heights. By working together, the seven communities were able to share resources and workload as we prepared to educate the public about aggregation of electricity in advance of the March 20th referendum. The group also believed that by joining together to obtain a bid for electricity supply, each municipality would obtain significant savings for our residents and small businesses.  

Beginning in May of 2011, the Village and the MA Consortium members entered into a two-year agreement with Integrys Energy Services at a 100% “green” power price of 4.0775 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
 
In April of 2013, the MA Consortium consisting of seven communities entered into a 13-month contract extension with Integrys Energy Services.  The fixed 100% renewable energy rate was 5.579¢/kWh, which represented a 10% savings over ComEd’s all-in price.  

In May of 2014, the MA Consortium consisting of seven communities entered into a 36-month contract with Constellation Energy. Constellation, an Exelon Company, offered the lowest pricing at a fixed rate of 6.621¢ per kWh for three years, ending May 2017. Additionally, 100% of electric supply consumed by program participants supports renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro.  To date, the renewable program has reduced CO2 output by 261,000 tons.

At the conclusion of the program in May of 2017, the Village’s program had saved our residents and small business owners an estimated $6.3 million.  All the energy over the six-year course of the program was 100% renewable energy.

Municipal Separate Storm Water Sewer System Permit

Under the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments, the USEPA developed new regulations to address storm water that might impact water quality. These new "Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” (MS4) regulations were set up in two phases dependent upon population and are enforced by the USEPA. 

The General Storm Water Permit for MS4s was reissued on February 10, 2016, and became effective on March 1, 2016. These reissued permits outline the following requirements on MS4 permit holders:

Develop Storm Water Management Program
Develop a storm water management program comprised of best management practice  BMPs and measureable  goals for each of the following six minimum control measures:

  • Public education and outreach on storm water impacts
  • Public involvement and participation
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • Construction site storm water runoff control
  • Post construction storm water management in new development & redevelopment
  • Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations

Submit Notice of Intent
Submit a completed Notice of Intent.  Operators can choose to share responsibilities for meeting the Phase II program requirements.  Those entities choosing to do so may submit jointly with other municipalities or governmental entities.

Submit Annual Reports
The permittee must submit annual reports to the Agency by June 1st for each year that the permit is in effect. The report  must include: 

  • The status of compliance with the permit conditions, including an assessment of the BMPs and progress toward the measurable goals
  • Results of any information collected and analyzed, including monitoring data
  • A summary of the storm water activities planned for the next reporting cycle
  • A change in any identified best management practices or measurable goals
  • If applicable, notice of relying on another governmental entity to satisfy some of the permit obligations

The regulations generally switch the focus for compliance inspection and enforcement to the governing Village. The regulations also focus on public and  contractor education.  The issue of education falls to the Village to perform and document. In 2015, the Village passed a comprehensive illicit discharge ordinance. This ordinance formalizes our clean water practices and is key to the governance of the new MS4 permit. 

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) has its origin in the Federal Clean Water Act. The program requires permits for the discharge of treated municipal effluent, treated industrial effluent and storm water. The permits establish the conditions under which the discharge may occur and establish monitoring and reporting requirements.

The Village maintains NPDES Permit Number ILM580006.  This permit is for the combined sewer overflow connected to the Village’s Combined Sewer System.  The overflow is located at the head water of Weller Creek, near Central Road within Mount Prospect.

The Public Works Department submits an annual report detailing the previous year’s operations and maintenance to our Combined Sewer System.  In the event of an overflow into Weller Creek, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) will respond and notify the proper governing agencies.

MWRD Sponsored Free Rain Barrel Program

The “Free Rain Barrel Program” was administered by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), and offered to the residents of Arlington Heights and neighboring communities. The program began on May 26, 2016 and concluded on December 31, 2016. The program information was posted on the Village website for the residents.  The program was well received by the Arlington Heights residents.  

The Public Works staff worked in coordination with MWRD with the gathering and processing of information received from interested Arlington Heights residents. The Public Works Front Office staff responded to resident inquiries regarding application requests and completion of the application process.  The application Information was forwarded onto MWRD. Staff also documented the information received from Arlington Heights resident’s inquiries regarding delivery dates, missing parts, and related concerns, and forwarded that information to MWRD for follow up. 

Forestry staff set up “Rain Barrel” displays at several 2016 Arlington Heights events including the Mane Event, National Night Out, and the Arlington Heights Garden Club’s Garden Walk. The displays promoted community awareness for the opportunity to receive free rain barrels through the MWRD sponsored program.  

Below is summary of the total applications received and rain barrels processed for delivery through the MWRD “Free Rain Barrel Program”.

Arlington Heights Resident Household Applications received:   901
Rain Barrels processed for delivery to Arlington Heights Residents:  1,845

 

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) has its origin in the Federal Clean Water Act. The program requires permits for the discharge of treated municipal effluent, treated industrial effluent and storm water. The permits establish the conditions under which the discharge may occur and establish monitoring and reporting requirements. The Village maintains NPDES Permit Number ILM580006.  This permit is for the combined sewer overflow connected to the Village’s Combined Sewer System.  The overflow is located at the head water of Weller Creek, near Central Road within Mount Prospect.

The Public Works Department submits an annual report detailing the previous year’s operations and maintenance to our Combined Sewer System.  In the event of an overflow into Weller Creek, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) will respond and notify the proper governing agencies.