CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed critical legislation to address urban flooding and to help ensure clean drinking water supplies and a cleaner environment. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
"Water is a tremendous resource except when you have too much of it or it’s not fit to drink,” Governor Quinn said. “These new laws will help us better control the damaging urban floods we’ve had recently, and will help maintain our clean drinking water systems.”
“These laws continue to support the Governor’s work to provide additional protections for the state’s cities and our water resources,” Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director Lisa Bonnett said. “They include additional environmental protections that will provide for clean and healthy water for Illinois residents.”
“Urban flooding is an equal opportunity problem,” Ryan Wilson, Stormwater Program Manager at the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on sustainable cities, said. “Our own research shows that urban flooding can happen anywhere, not just in floodplains. The legislation Governor Quinn signed today will help Illinois communities better understand urban flooding, and identify innovative stormwater solutions that can protect our homes, our investments, and our environment from the threat of increasingly frequent and severe storms.”
Senate Bill 2966, sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), creates the Urban Flooding Awareness Act. The new law forms a working group with representatives from state, federal and local agencies and other interested parties who will review and evaluate the latest research, policies and procedures regarding urban flooding. The group will then submit a report by June 30, 2015 to the Governor and General Assembly with recommendations on how best to prevent and control urban flooding. The law is effective immediately.
“Flooding in urban areas is a growing challenge that demands the combined expertise of local, state and federal agencies,” Senator Steans said. “We’re taking the problem seriously and making sure we know what’s happening and why so we can adopt effective measures that protect lives and property.”
"With recent heavy rainfall, our neighborhoods, cities and state saw a dramatic increase in flooding, causing serious damage to property," Representative Cassidy said. "This bill will bring together stakeholders, experts and State agencies to examine the causes of urban flooding and how our infrastructure and technology can mitigate the impacts in the future."
In addition, Senate Bill 2770, sponsored by State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) and State Representative Michael Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), requires each community water supply system to designate an operator who will be directly responsible for that system’s water supply and distribution. An initiative of the IEPA, it also updates the duties and responsibilities of operators to ensure they hold the proper certification and skills to operate the community water supply. The law is effective immediately.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 2928, sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and State Representative JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch), which allows law enforcement agencies to collect pharmaceuticals and other controlled substances from residents and safely store and transport them for disposal at IEPA-approved sites. Increased options for residents to safely and properly dispose of pharmaceuticals and controlled substances will help ensure that fewer unused medications are flushed down the toilet, which has serious negative impacts on water supplies. The law is effective immediately.
Governor Quinn has a long record of support for measures that ensure a clean and healthy environment. On July 23 Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 2780, which expands the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative to include stormwater and green infrastructure projects. In 2013, Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1869 which gives Illinois municipalities greater ability to build and invest in innovative storm water management infrastructure to help mitigate damaging floods such as green roofs, rain gardens, bioswales, tree boxes, porous pavement, native plantings, constructed wetlands and more. The law expanded existing law to include these items, among others.