RMU started its operations in 1896 with a power plant located near what is now Spring Lake. It was first used to produce energy for the downtown streetlights. Then the demand for electricity began to grow. The first house wired for electricity and served by RMU was built on South Main, and is still in existence to this day. RMU continued from that point on adding generation to it's current facility on 9th street, the home to our Co-generation facility.
In the early 60's construction began on a 13 Megawatt coal fired steam turbine. This was in response to growing industrial load. The plant underwent a retrofit in 1993 with assistance from the State of Illinois and was retired in 2004. RMU continued it's commitment to local generation when it purchased a 4.5 megawatt gas fired turbine. RMU also owns over 20 miles of 138kV transmission line. We connected to the ComEd system in the early 70's when demand exceeded our local generation capacity. We are connected to the national power grid in two locations to provide the most reliable service possible to our customers. Both of our substations have redundant supply to ensure reliabilty.
In 1897, the first well was drilled on Eighth St. and was used to supply water to Spring Lake. Prior to that, water was pumped from a quarry at the south end of town for customers in Rochelle. In 1907, a second well was drilled near the site of the power plant, and at that time, a standpipe on Eighth St. was used for storage. The first water tower was erected in 1955 at Second Ave. A second tower was built in 1961 to provide storage for the growing industrial area. In 2003 RMU, with a grant from the State of Illinois began construction of the newest tower and well on the northwest side of town. These three towers have a storage capacity of 1.5 million gallons. The Water Division maintains four wells that pump an average of 1.8 million gallons per day to provide customers with a safe and reliable source of drinking water.
The first Activated Sludge plant was built in 1935 and expanded in 1953. In 1960, when Swift and Company brought a hog and cattle slaughter operation to Rochelle, a 3 million gallon per day, three stage Trickling Filter plant was built. This was designed to handle the Swift & Company slaughter operations and the wastewater from Caron International, a yarn dyeing operation.
Work on a new anaerobic lagoon was begun in 1990, and the lagoon began filling on June 15, 1991 with flow from Rochelle Foods.
A further plant upgrade was begun in November of 1992, and completed in August 1993. This upgrade consisted of four nitrification tanks with a total volume of 6.68 million gallons, two clarifiers, each holding 822,000 gallons, tertiary sand filters, chlorination and dechlorination.
On September 19, 1997, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency granted the City a revised design capacity based upon the plant's proven ability to remove BOD and TSS. Present capacity is:
- Design average flow: 4.87 MGD
- Design maximum flow: 8.76 MGD
- BOD loading: 18,690 pounds per day
- TSS loading: 13,180 per day
- Ammonia loading: 2915 pounds per day
In 1996 RMU took another step to follow it's progressive past. The RMU management team launched a Communications Division to serve the citizens of Rochelle and surrounding areas with a dial-up service to connect Rochelle to the Internet. Since then RMU has begun providing high speed Internet Access via Wireless and Fiber Optic Services. We also provide web hosting services. With the recent addition of Network Services to our expanding list of offerings, RMU is quickly becoming a 'one stop shop' for all of the data service needs within the community.