During Springfield's first several decades water was a scarce commmodity, with residents and businesses forced to rely on four public pumps and private wells for water. In 1860, the Springfield City Council began to take baby steps toward building the city's first water pumping station on the Sangamon River, a plan that was heartily endorsed in February 1861 by the Illinois State Journal, which stated, ". . . we know of nothing that can fail to be most significantly benefited by the [building of a public] water works." Later that same year, the Journal (above) also supported a bill before the Illinois State Legislature that would grant Springfield a charter to build the water works station. Even so, it wasn't until nearly four years later, at the February 27, 1865, City Council meeting, that Alderman Dr. Henry Wohlgemuth succeeded in persuading the Council to move forward on building the municipal water works, which was started in 1866 and completed in 1868. Want to learn more about the events leading up to the creation of City Water, Light and Power? Order your free copy of our booklet Getting Here: Building CWLP, or view it online.
City Water, Light & Power is the municipal electric and water utility for Springfield, Illinois. CWLP also owns and manages Lake Springfield, the primary source of drinking water for Springfield and one of Central Illinois' premier recreational resources.
All CWLP coal fired plants have modern pollution control technologies and CWLP was one of the first utilities in the country to employ flue gas desulfurization technology with construction of its Dallman 3 scrubber in 1980. CWLP's newest coal-fired plant, Dallman 4—completed in 2009—has some of the most advanced air pollution controls of any plant in the U.S. and has won accolades from engineering and environmental groups alike.
While the State of Ilinois' Renewable Portfolio Standard requires investor-owned utilities to have 6% renewable power, approximately 20% of energy provided by CWLP is renewable wind power. CWLP also enables its customers to achieve the equivalent of a 100% green electric bill for an additional $8 per month through the utility's Renewable Choice Program.In the past five years, CWLP has spent more than $3 million to fund programs that help our customers make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. This includes money spent to provide rebates for heat pump, insulation, and solar installations, as well as over $400,000 in free energy efficiency improvements for 168 low-income and senior customers.
In recent years, CWLP's Water Division has undertaken a number of infrastructure improvements, including replacing all five of the original Spaulding Dam gates that dated back to the building of Lake Springfield in the mid-1930s; replacing the three original Spaulding clarifiers, dating to 1935, with state-of-the-art Helical Flow models that significantly increase both the quality and quantity of water that can be treated each day, while reducing the Water Purification Plant's energy consumption; construction of a new six-million gallon clear well, built in conjunction with new low- and high-service water pumping stations to replace a smaller 1930s-era clear well and the antiquated pump stations previously located in the basement of the decommisioned Lakeside Power Station; upgrading the water intake structure; and commencement of the installation of high-tech Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters that allow meters to be read remotely and more accurately. In the past six years, CWLP has spent in excess of $65 million to modernize its drinking water treatment and transmission and distribution capabilities.
But producing and distributing treated water is only part of the Water Division's function. The Division is also responsible for managing and protecting the City's primary water supply source, Lake Springfield, and for seeking means by which to ensure the water supply will be sufficient in quantity and quality to meet the needs of our growing community and the nearby communities that rely on CWLP for their drinking water. For decades, the utility has worked with agricultural fertilizer companies and farmers within Lake Springfield's watershed to reduce erosion and chemical runoff into the lake and is currently involved in a project with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Sangamon County Soil and Water Conservation District to implement a watershed best management program to further these goals. In 2014, CWLP won top honors in the Source Water Protection–Large System Category from the Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association for developing and implementing exemplary source water protection programs for Lake Springfield.The water Division also continues to actively pursue options for developing a long-term supplementary water source that will ensure the city will have a sufficient water supply in the event of a major drought.
City Water, Light & Power's general offices are located on the fourth floor of Municipal Center East, 800 East Monroe, Springfield, IL 62757. Contact information for the General Office and other utility offices can be found on the Contact Us page.