CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today awarded a $25 million low-interest loan to the City of Chicago to be used to replace more than 18 additional miles of water pipes throughout the city. This announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to drive Illinois’ economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ water infrastructure. Funded through Governor Quinn’s $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative, the project will help meet the clean water needs of 5.2 million area residents and create more than 300 direct and indirect jobs.
“By ensuring the people of Chicago have modern water systems and access to clean water where they live and work, we can support our economy and strengthen Illinois for the future,” Governor Quinn said. “Projects like this create jobs now and will serve as an economic engine throughout the region for generations to come.”
In January, Governor Quinn awarded $15 million for the first Chicago project of his $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative to the Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) to support its Water Main Replacement program. DWM has a goal of replacing 1 percent of its entire 4,230-mile network annually, or about 42 miles a year. However, with many of the city’s water mains are more than 100 years old, and nearly 400 miles having been installed between 1870 and 1890, DWM wants to increase that goal to 75 miles a year by 2016. This $40 million total commitment represents a 400 percent increase in funds previously available to Chicago to this year and will be key to the city’s efforts to modernize its water infrastructure. To date, Governor Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative has funded projects totaling $412.3 million across Illinois for both drinking and waste water needs.
This project is estimated to create approximately 218 direct construction jobs for area trade union members, including: Laborers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, Operating Engineers, Teamsters and Carpenters, as well as about 92 indirect jobs related to purchase of services, supplies and equipment. The Illinois Clean Water Initiative provides a local economic boost across the state by insuring adequate water and sewer infrastructure for residents and business alike and supports an estimated 28,000 jobs throughout Illinois.
Over the last 10 years, the amount of water pumped each day by the city of Chicago has actually decreased by more than 100 million gallons a day, with the Water Main Replacement Program being an important contributor to this reduction and water savings. In addition to waste, damaged and leaking pipes can lead to lower quality water and public health issues.
“Governor Quinn's Clean Water Initiative is helping the citizens of Chicago to do their part to conserve our precious water resources because breaks in old water mains are the single largest source of water loss,” Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett said. “Governor Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative is absolutely vital for growing our economy and protecting Illinois’ environment for this and future generations.”
“The Illinois Finance Authority is proud to help Governor Quinn and Mayor Emmanuel finance the replacement of century-old water pipes in Chicago at the lowest possible cost to the City’s hard working ratepayers,” Illinois Finance Authority Executive Director Chris Meister said. “Chairman Bill Brandt and the entire volunteer board of the Illinois Finance Authority are also proud that this partnership with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Chicago will put hundreds of women and men of the unionized buildings and trades to work modernizing Chicago’s water infrastructure – one of Chicago’s competitive advantages in the global economy.”
Governor Quinn launched the $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative in his 2012 State of the State Address to help local governments facing a critical need to overhaul aging drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution and collection systems. The ICWI is funded with annual federal grants, funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and additional principal and interest from loan repayments. No new state tax dollars are used.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency it is estimated the total water infrastructure needs in Illinois over the next 20 years total $32 billion, including $17 billion in wastewater projects (which is the 6th highest among the states) and $15 billion in drinking water projects (4th highest need in the nation).
To learn more about Governor Quinn’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.