PEKIN – December 4, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Interim Director John Kim, and Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) Executive Director Chris Meister today announced that the first loan of the governor’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative would be awarded to the city of Pekin to improve a wastewater treatment plant. As part of the governor’s $1 billion water infrastructure initiative, the city completed the necessary application and meets the eligibility criteria to qualify for a long-term, low-interest $4.8 million loan, which is being jointly administered by IEPA and the IFA. This project will create or support nearly 400 jobs by improving local water infrastructure.
“Just as Illinois was defined by its waterways, so too was Pekin,” Governor Quinn said. “Built by skilled laborers, this new wastewater treatment facility will protect the health of Pekin’s residents and its waterways. The project is a prime example of how the Illinois Clean Water Initiative is an investment in our environment, health and the creation of good-paying jobs.”
In October, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Clean Water Initiative to help local governments overhaul aging drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and pipes, and ensure that residents will have access to safe drinking water and that our environment will remain protected. More than 350 local governments have already expressed need for the program. Many Illinois residents are receiving drinking water through water mains that are nearly a century old; and scores of other drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities are in dire need of repair.
The city of Pekin is using the proceeds of this loan to complete phased improvements to its wastewater system that were initiated in 2011. The project cost is nearly $40 million, which utilized previous IEPA loans of $35 million. This major upgrade to Pekin’s wastewater system will provide a significant increase in treatment capacity that will improve the ability of the plant to meet current and future discharge standards.
“The Clean Water Initiative will benefit Pekin and other communities greatly with improved infrastructure and reduced risk of environmental harm caused by leaking piping,” said IEPA Interim Director John Kim.
Governor Quinn proposed the Illinois Clean Water Initiative during his State of the State address, and later this year directed the IEPA and the IFA to move forward to access $1 billion in long-term, low-interest loans to local governments for drinking water and wastewater systems across the state. IEPA has lent $4.3 billion to 472 Illinois communities since 1989. There has never been a defaulted loan during the program’s history.
The program provides a substantial increase in the clean water and drinking water low-interest revolving loan programs administered by Illinois EPA. The program provides financing to communities for projects such as wastewater treatment plant upgrades and expansions, new sewer lines, drinking water treatment plant modifications and expansions and new or replacement water distribution systems.
The Pekin Clean Water Initiative will create 190 construction jobs plus approximately 180 associated jobs by equipment suppliers, manufacturers and fabricators, raw material suppliers and fabricators, and utility providers. Pipefitters, plumbers, operating engineers, carpenters, electricians, ironworkers and others will replace broken water mains, build treatment plants, upgrade sewers and prevent environmental threats.
The SRF is funded with annual federal grants, a one-time infusion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds, plus principal and interest from loan repayments. No new state tax dollars will be used. Needed equity will be provided by the existing loan portfolio and future federal capitalization grant dollars.
To learn more about the Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.