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Note: The following is adapted from a document prepared by Bob Sasman with help from Dan Kelleher, Susie Dodd, and Steve Wilson.  If you have any information for the IGA History Files, we'd love for you to share your experiences and pictures.

Seeds of an Idea
Initial ideas for the formation of Illinois Groundwater Association (IGA) were developed by Jim Gibb, Ellis Sanderson and Bob Sasman, all with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) in October 1982.  Their ideas began to form during and immediately after the annual meeting of the Mid-West Groundwater Conference in Iowa City, Iowa.  The National Water Well Association (NWWA) was interested in promoting organizations within the various states to generate greater interest in groundwater and, as an incentive, agreed to provide assistance in the form of financial loans to assist with initial expenses.

During the early part of 1983, informal discussions were held between Jim Gibb, Ellis Sanderson and Bob Sasman;  Monte Nienkirk, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA);  Gary Clark, Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Water Resources (IDOT); Chuck Grigalauski, Waste Management, Inc;  and Greg Buffington, Layne-Western Company.  Questions were discussed regarding membership requirements, organizational structure, meeting frequency, membership fees, and constitution and bylaw development.   Drafts of constitutions and bylaws of other organizations were reviewed and utilized to develop similar documents for the new association. In June of 1983, the IGA was formed with the support of the NWWA.  The NWWA awarded a loan of $300 to the IGA for start-up and early operation costs.  The IGA reapaid that loan in June 1984.

Prior to the initial planning meeting and using an ISWS mailing list, invitations were mailed to over 400 people in federal, state, regional, county and local governments, consulting engineering firms, industrial and environmental engineers, well contractors, and representatives of other organizations.

Planting the Seeds
The first meeting was held in June 1983.  Eighty-three people attended, representing 7 public water supplies, 3 counties, 6 state agencies, 3 federal agencies, 12 consulting firms, 3 well construction contractors and 5 industrial firms.  In addition to the technical program, there was considerable discussion regarding details of organization: including types of programs desired, membership requirements, location and time of meetings, annual dues, formation of a Constitution and Bylaws, governing organization and election of officers.

Following the initial meeting, an ad hoc committee consisting of Jim Gibb, Ellis Sanderson, Bob Sasman, Marv Sherrill (U. S. Geological Survey), Jim Michels (Engineering Enterprises, Inc.) and Chuck Grigalauski met to discuss issues raised during the first meeting, an appropriate method of electing the first slate of officers, and an agenda for the second meeting.  It was decided to hold an election at the next meeting, in November 1983, with five officers:  Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and 2 Directors to be elected for 1984.  A form requesting nominees from a list of those who indicated a willingness to assist with the organization was mailed with the notice for the Fall meeting.

The following Charter Officers were elected to serve for 1984:  Chairman, Jim Gibb;  Vice Chairman, Monte Nienkirk;  Secretary-Treasurer, Bob Sasman;  and Directors, Ken Bowden, Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Greg Buffington.  Initial annual dues were set at $5.  Initial committees established included those for membership, nominating and a newsletter.  The proposed Constitution and Bylaws were discussed, with recommendations for modification and elaboration of several items.  It was agreed that invitations for membership should be extended to anyone interested in Illinois groundwater.  A meeting schedule of two per year was decided upon, but a third might be planned for special occasions.  The two meetings should be held in the spring and fall, with meeting locations moved around the state.  Suggestions for the meeting agenda included formal presentations, with opportunity for discussion and an open forum to cover a wide variety of topics related to groundwater.

Drafts of the Constitution and Bylaws as modified during the three initial meetings, were approved by the membership in October 1984.  Papers applying for not-for-profit tax exempt status were forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during 1984.  After several revisions, approval of tax exempt status was received in 1985.

Spreading the News
Discussions started in 1984 regarding the printing of an Association newsletter.  Ken Bowden printed the first edition in September 1985, using it as the notice for the October 1985 meeting and as a ballot for election of 1986 officers.  A more formal newsletter became a reality in February 1986, with Bruce Hensel and Ed Mehnert, both with the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), serving as editors.

In 1986, it was suggested that the association should have an identifying logo for use on newsletters and correspondence.  The executive committee decided to conduct a contest for the design, with entries to be judged by the executive committee and the newsletter editors.  Prizes to be awarded included $50 and a plaque for first place, $30 for second place, and $20 for third place.  Winners of the contest announced at the Fall 1986 meeting were: 1st place, Don Keefer, ISGS;  2nd place, Keith Benson, City of Rockford;  3rd place, Tim Larson, ISGS.  Due to misplacement of the entries, various drafting and editing problems, and a conflict with the ISGS logo, a final design was not produced until 1990.

In 1987, the Association prepared a resolution supporting the construction of the Superconducting Supercollider at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia.  Subsequently, this project was approved for construction in Texas.

In 1987, the IGA cooperated with the Illinois Section of Environmental Engineering & Water Resources Division, American Society Civil Engineers, in hosting a water resources symposium, held at the Rosemont Conference Center October 21-22, 1987.

Cultivating Students’ Skills
A student research grant program was initiated in 1987, to promote research in Illinois groundwater resources investigations.  The purpose of the awards is to advance the knowledge of groundwater resources in Illinois by: a) supporting groundwater research in the State at a level at which IGA support can be significant; b) encourage the training and development of students as future groundwater professionals; and c) encourage the involvement of students in the goals and activities of IGA.  The awards generally range from $200 to $300, based on a competitive evaluation of student applications and the discretion of the Executive Committee.

In 1991, the membership approved a change in the Bylaws, establishing a Student Director, as a member of the Association governing board.  This person was to be a student at a university in Illinois studying in a field related to groundwater.  The first Student Director was Dan Kelleher, then a student at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb.

In 1993, IGA and the Illinois Groundwater Protection Education Program developed an annual Groundwater Science Award to recognize individuals and organizations providing significant contributions towards groundwater protection.  Harry Hendrickson, Groundwater Education Coordinator, provided a major impetus for the establishment of this award.  The program has included achievement awards to individuals and public information/education to individuals, committees, groups and organizations offering significant programs for groundwater protection.  While dues were increased to $10 in 1990 and to $15 in 1995,  student dues have remained at $5.

Other states that formed groundwater associations before Illinois include Alaska in 1975, Colorado in 1981, Minnesota in 1982 and Georgia in 1983.  Both Wisconsin and Iowa formed groundwater associations in 1984.  Idaho developed a program in 1994 from the organization framework of the Illinois Groundwater Association.

The development of the IGA has provided a forum for learning new groundwater regulations, techniques for groundwater monitoring, technical innovations in the groundwater field, case histories of interesting groundwater problems and solutions, and activities and programs of public and private organizations.

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