Our Story

The History of EJ Water Coop.

The Dieterich Ruritan Club recognized the need for economic development for their village to thrive.

Local attorney Hank Stephens commented to those in attendance that in order for their town to see growth and development they would need good, clean, potable water. At the time Western Jasper and Eastern Effingham counties were struggling with their water supplies especially in the dry weather of the summer months. Recognizing the need, a group of farmers from the area joined together and started discussing how to bring water to the town. The original plan was to install ten miles of water mains. At the time seemed almost impossible. The steering committee was tasked with getting interested people to sign up for their service, with 300 members as their goal. The need for water was so great, memberships kept rolling in and the first phase installed 100 miles of water main and served approximately 480 households.

Our History

We’re really excited and thankful things have gone as they have
Delbert Mundt - 1993
  • 19 May 1988

    An Idea is Sparked

    Hank Stephens spoke at a meeting for the Dieterich Ruritan organization about economic development. One of his major points was “You can’t have economic development without water”. This sparked inspiration among the attendants including the Ruritan President Delbert Mundt.

  • 23 Feb 1989

    The First Meeting

    The first informational meeting was held for those interested to discuss the major steps in starting a rural water system, the goal of 300 members was set.

  • May 1989

    The 1st Goal is Reached

    Within three months the goal of 300 members was reached 

  • 01 Mar 1990

    The First Annual Member's Meeting

    Even though water service had yet to be provided the board held its first annual meeting for the members and 140 guests attended. Members were brought up to date on the progress the water coop was making on Phase I. 

  • 27 Aug 1993

    Phase I Turns on the Tap

    Phase I is completed with 400 meter hookups for residents, farms and villages along 100 miles of water mains in Eastern Effingham and Western Jasper counties. The first water treatment plant was included in the phase as well as the Island Grove Water Tower. A "Big Splash" celebration was held to commemorate the achievement, and was a momentous experience for all. 

  • Jun 1995

    Louisville Becomes the First Village Partner

    Louisville signed a 40 year contract with EJ Water stating that EJ would furnish the village with water. This made Louisville Illinois EJ’s first official community partner.

  • 05 Sep 1995

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for Phase II

    Drinks were noted to have been made from EJ Water. 

  • Jan 1999

    EJ's First Decade

    EJ celebrated its first decade with a birthday cake. In the first ten years EJ grew to 4,600 members that had signed up and completed many phases including I,II, III, IV, V, VII, VIII, XI. Their next goal was to continue to relentlessly serve their customers, and work to find a water source to sustain growth. In ten years the water treatment plant had doubled in size and a second well field was under construction to make a total of five wells.

  • Jan 2004

    Growth Realized

    EJ Water becomes the largest rural water cooperative in the state of Illinois. At the time of the achievement the coop served 40 townships, 1600 square feet, and provided water to 4,150 farms and residents across 6 counties.

  • 27 Oct 2010

    Delbert Mundt Water Treatment Plant

    A second water treatment plant was completed to distribute softened water to the west side of the system. The state of the art water treatment plant was designed to serve the growing system with the water it needed. It was named the Delbert D. Mundt Water Treatment Plant to honor the man who worked tirelessly to bring water to the rural community. A celebration was held and those in attendance were able to tour the plant.

  • Jan 2013

    Illinois' Best Tasting Water

    EJ Water is awarded Illinois' Best Tasting Water in Illinois by the American Water Works Association. 

  • Jan 2014

    Cellular Meter Readers Improve Service

    EJ Water began to install cellular read meters. The meters were first tested on EJ board members and within hours the new meter determined that the board president had a continuous leak. The board unanimously decided that the meters would be beneficial for all EJ members.

  • Jan 2015

    Illinois' Best Tasting Water Round II

    EJ Water was awarded for the Best Tasting Water in Illinois for the second time. The water treated at the Delbert Mundt Water Treatment Plant received the honor from the Illinois Rural Water Association. 

  • Jan 2015

    Plans for a New Water Treatment Plant

    EJ Water received funding to build another state of the art water treatment plant, which would replace the old Gila Water Treatment Plant. This allowed water to be softened on the east side of the system as well, allocating 90% of the system to be served softened water.

  • 21 Oct 2015

    Fayette Interconnect goes Online

    EJ Water partnered with Fayette Water to build an interconnect. The connected systems provided water to the City of St. Elmo for Pinnacle Foods and helped grow the St. Elmo area by 100 new jobs . The two water companies celebrated the completed project with a pancake breakfast.

  • Mar 2017

    Innovative Wastewater Treatment Cooperative is Formed

    Innovative Wastewater Treatment Cooperative was formed as a subsidiary of EJ Water. Members of the Co-op voted to amend the cooperatives articles of incorporation to allow EJ Water to own and operate wastewater systems. EJ had been providing wastewater operator services for more than a decade and recognized high density subdivisions in suburban areas or small communities struggled with wastewater issues, and EJ could provide a positive solution. 

  • 10 Sep 2017

    The White House Takes Notice

    Representatives from EJ Water met with Administration Staff of Infrastructure from the White House to discuss the benefits of partnership with other water systems. EJ representatives provided White House staff with solutions on how smaller systems could be sustainable long term.