March 25, 2022

Duckworth, Durbin Highlight Support for Water Infrastructure Improvements in Underserved Suburban Communities


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and local officials to highlight the recent federal support for MWRD’s Forging Resilient Communities Project. Duckworth and Durbin were joined by MWRD President Kari K. Steele, MWRD Executive Director Brian Perkovich and Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark to discuss this project, which will receive funding secured by Duckworth and Durbin through the Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) process and included in the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law earlier this month. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“Chronic flooding and contamination issues from sewer overflow have plagued towns like Stone Park, Harvey, Riverdale and Dolton for far too long,” Duckworth said. But thanks to forward thinking from MWRD and our support at the federal level, we’re able to help create a future where sewage flooding, contamination and water pollution aren’t the norm. I was proud to support this MWRD-led project to help improve water infrastructure with Senator Durbin, and I’m pleased we were able to secure it in this year’s omnibus package. I look forward to seeing these repairs and upgrades completed and seeing the impact this critical federal support has on our communities that need it most.”

“Senator Duckworth and I were able to secure the $1.5 million in much-needed federal funding through the return of Congressionally Directed Spending, or earmarks, to appropriations bills,” Durbin said. “With the help of this earmark, MWRD is establishing a new program focused on increasing flood resiliency in historically underserved communities in our region. Rain in these communities too often leads to flooded homes and environmental contamination from sewer system overflows. The federal funding we announced today will help these communities finally solve these issues by assessing the condition of their aging sewer systems, finding problem areas, and fixing them.”

“We thank Senator Duckworth and Senator Durbin for their valuable leadership and collaboration in securing $1.5 million in funding that will support four historically underserved communities challenged by infiltration and inflow into sanitary sewer systems,” said Steele. “This project exemplifies how federal funding can be leveraged to provide multiple benefits and combines many of our initiatives in managing stormwater, treating wastewater and protecting the quality of our area waterways, while also protecting vulnerable communities deserving of our help.”

MWRD’s Forging Resilient Communities project will help reducing flooding of homes and contamination of the environment from sanitary sewer overflows in four disproportionately impacted municipalities: Stone Park, Harvey, Riverdale and Dolton. This will include a condition assessment of the most at-risk portion of each community sanitary sewer system, rehabilitation work to address the infiltration and overflow sources detected and planting trees in strategic locations to help reduce the impact of storm water runoff on the sewer system and environment. Duckworth and Durbin supported this project through CDS project, successfully securing $1.5 million in the FY2022 omnibus.

As the Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, Duckworth has been a strong supporter of improving our nation’s water infrastructure, especially in historically disadvantaged communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes Duckworth’s entire Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA), which would help rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure. As a result of her leadership, Illinois—which contains the most known lead service lines of any state in the nation—will be able to dramatically accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water. Duckworth is also a co-founder of the Senate’s first Environmental Justice Caucus.