On July 23, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced that he signed legislation designed to help combat flooding across the state and to protect Illinois’ drinking water. The legislation makes stormwater management and treatment projects available for state financial assistance following last year’s record rainfall and severe flooding that affected communities across Illinois. A copy of the new law can be found here.
More specifically, the new law amends the Environmental Protection Act to allow the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to use funds in the Water Pollution Control Loan Program to provide financial assistance for eligible projects, including those that encourage green infrastructure, that manage and treat stormwater, and that maintain and restore natural hydrology by infiltrating, evapotranspiring, and capturing and using stormwater. The new law also provides that, in planning projects for which financing will be sought from the Water Pollution Control Loan Program, municipalities should consider such things as: a project’s lifetime costs; the availability of long-term funding for the construction, operation, maintenance, and replacement of the project; the resilience of the projects to the effects of climate change; the project’s ability to increase water efficiency; the capacity of a project to restore natural hydrology or to preserve or restore landscape features; the cost-effectiveness of the project; and the overall environmental innovativeness of the project. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has been given the authority to adopt rules stating criteria for the prioritization of the issuance of the loans. Such rules would include criteria designed to encourage green infrastructure, water efficiency, environmentally innovative projects, and nutrient pollution removal.
Governor Quinn also announced that the community of Oak Lawn will receive $12.7 million in low-interest loan assistance as part of their nine-project Regional Water System Improvement Program. The total $171 million Oak Lawn program will use Clean Water Initiative loans to help fund the majority of the work.
Click below for a video that includes Governor Quinn’s statement upon signing the bill into law.