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LODA — A surprise inspection of Loda’s water system by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency revealed that nearly 15 percent of the water used in the village could not be accounted for.

To help address the issue, the village board voted unanimously last Wednesday to install a 4-inch water meter at the local firehouse, which currently has no meter for its water usage.

Village Board President Carol Arseneau said Weber Fertilizer’s facility in Loda also has no water meter, but Treasurer Myles Reck said the company has refused to pay to have one installed upon village officials’ request. Reck’s statement prompted Arseneau and Trustee Gene Breeden Jr. to suggest having the company’s water service shut off.

Meanwhile, in another water-related matter, J.R. Ptacek — an employee of ERH Enterprises Inc., the Westville-based firm contracted to maintain Loda’s water system — told trustees that the former Loda Grade School building had been purchased by the Aardsma family, who will be using the facility for two of their businesses. The family requested water service be set up at the building, so the village will install a 3-inch water meter there.

Ptacek also mentioned that he had seen on Facebook that the local fire department was planning a waterball fight. Ptacek said he was not against the event itself, but he said the last time such an event was held in Loda, it caused a water main to bust due to the jerking of the water on and off. Ptacek said he would attend the next meeting of the fire department’s board and explain that the fire department will need to fill a tanker from the top as to avoid possible cross-contamination of the village’s water.

It was also mentioned that resident Jackie Swanstrom had her 14,000-gallon swimming pool filled using a hydrant at a cost of $140. Trustee Cathy Tittle said she was under the impression the village would not be filling pools using a hydrant, noting that others’ requests had been turned down, including her own. However, Arseneau told Tittle that if a resident approaches the board’s president with such a request, it will be granted.

Other business

Also at last week’s meeting:

➜ The village’s attorney, Dale Strough, said there are two dilapidated homes in town that the village now has the authority to demolish. Bids will be sought from interested contractors for the razing of the two homes.

➜ Trustees raised concerns about the length of grass and weeds at a property on Maple Street targeted for demolition. Breeden said that the growth is as high as his truck and that animals have been seen coming in and out of the property. Ptacek said he would mow the property using the village’s tractor.

➜ Arseneau asked trustees to think about whether the town should allow recreational cannabis businesses within village limits once cannabis can be legally sold and used by adults in Illinois starting Jan. 1. A discussion on the issue is expected in September.

➜ The board voted unanimously to authorize Trustee Pat Allen to contact Price Tree Service to have two or three trees removed.

➜ The board voted 5-1, with Trustee Joyce Gharst in dissent, to allow resident Sandy Coffey to temporarily close the 200 block of South Elm Street to traffic to accommodate a block party there on Saturday, Sept. 14.

➜ ERH Enterprises Inc. reported that its employees recently cleaned catch basins, serviced equipment and repaired a broken storm tile coming from the catch basin in the alley behind Murdock’s bar.

➜ The board voted unanimously not to reimburse residents Allan and Jackie Swanstrom for replacing their fence, which they claimed was damaged when the village’s rust-removal system was installed several years ago.