ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn today awarded two low-interest loans to the Rock River Water Reclamation District (RRWRD), totaling more than $15 million to connect the Village Of Winnebago to the larger and better equipped RRWRD treatment plant. Today's investment will help the RRWRD complete significant upgrade and repair work that is needed to reduce area sewer backups. Funded through Governor Quinn’s $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative (CWI), the projects will help meet the clean water needs of 240,000 area residents and create 188 direct and indirect jobs.
This announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to drive Illinois’ economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ water infrastructure.
“Water infrastructure is a key for job creation and economic development,” Governor Quinn said. “By making these critical upgrades, we can create jobs and make sure that everyone in Winnebago County can avoid sewer problems that hamper regional development.”
RRWRD will receive a $12.9 million low-interest loan that will allow it to accept wastewater from the Village of Winnebago. The project will entail constructing four new lines that will connect Winnebago’s wastewater system to the larger and more modern RRWRD treatment plant. Winnebago’s current wastewater treatment plant is in need of a total upgrade for it to remain in service. This investment will eventually allow it to be decommissioned, which will mean improved sewer service and lower costs for Winnebago residents.
RRWRD will also receive a $2.2 million low-interest CWI loan that will supplement its aggressive sewer lining and repair program that is decreasing sewer backups for area residents each year. This funding will allow RRWRD to accelerate its program and target a critical 12-mile section of deteriorated sewers that help further prevent basement backups. RRWRD maintains a 1,100 mile sewer network across Winnebago County.
"This CWI funding is critical to helping RRWRD better serve Winnebago County," RRWRD Director Steve Graceffa said. "New lines will serve areas that currently do not have sanitary sewer, and this pipeline will ultimately eliminate an out of date wastewater treatment plant."
Together, these projects are estimated to create approximately 132 direct construction jobs for area trade union members, including laborers, plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, Teamsters and operating engineers as well as about 56 indirect jobs related to purchase of services, supplies and equipment. The ICWI 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.
“These projects will help our members support their families and make our communities strong,” said Brad Long, president of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. “I want to thank Governor Quinn for recognizing that critical infrastructure investments put people to work and raise the quality of life for everyone who lives near them.”
“These projects have been a top priority of Governor Quinn and our agency,” Lisa Bonnett, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) said. “Effective wastewater treatment is key to our efforts to protecting environmental and human health and the residents of Winnebago County will reap enormous benefits when these projects are complete. Our agency is proud to work with so many of our local government partners to protect the environment and we want to encourage more communities to get more information about the CWI and how it could help their residents.”
“Governor Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative is a win-win-win,” Chris Meister, executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority said. “Taxpayers save money from low-interest rate loans and thousands of men and women in the unionized buildings and trades will go to work on projects that will ensure clean safe water for their communities. On behalf of our Chairman Bill Brandt and our entire volunteer board, the Illinois Finance Authority is excited to partner with IEPA on financing these vital water infrastructure projects.”
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. EPA it is estimated the water infrastructure needs in Illinois over the next 20 years total $32 billion, including $17 billion in wastewater projects (which is the sixth highest among the states) and $15 billion in drinking water projects (fourth highest need in the nation).
To learn more about Governor Quinn’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.