April 26, 2023

Duckworth Underscores Support for Water Infrastructure Improvements with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder of the Senate’s first Environmental Justice Caucus, today met with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) leadership. Duckworth met with MWRD President Kari Steele, Vice President Kimberly Neely du Buclet, Executive Director Brian Perkovich and other MWRD officials to discuss their shared their commitment to supporting families’ right to safe and reliable water infrastructure, and how they can continue working together towards equitable water systems and resiliency for Chicagoland’s environmental justice communities. A photo of today’s meeting is available here.

“Every American has a right to clean water—no matter their zip code, the color of their skin or the size of their income,” said Duckworth. “From drinking water contaminated with lead to overflowing sewage, Americans across the country have experienced the negative impacts of allowing our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems to fall into a state of disrepair. And with the impacts of climate change, building more resilient systems against extreme weather has never been more critical. I was glad to connect with MWRD today to discuss their work on water infrastructure in underserved communities and I look forward to continuing to work together to address important environmental issues across Chicagoland.”

Duckworth, along with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) have supported MWRD’s work, specifically its Forging Resilient Communities project that will help reduce flooding of homes and contamination of the environment from sanitary sewer overflows in four disproportionately impacted municipalities: Stone Park, Harvey, Riverdale and Dolton. In the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Omnibus Appropriations Act, the Senators secured $3.5 million for  this project and previously secured $1.5 million in the FY2022 omnibus. Through funding provided in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Senator Duckworth also helped MWRD secure a reimbursement of $12 million from the Army Corps of Engineers for the Thornton Reservoir Work Plan. MWRD committed to reinvesting the reimbursement in the community of Robbins to help address environmental justice concerns that are further exacerbated by the flooding and stormwater issues the community faces.

Senator Duckworth’s Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, which has a focus on disadvantaged communities, will help rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure and enable communities to repair and modernize their failing drinking water, stormwater and wastewater systems, while creating jobs. Duckworth is also the co-founder of the U.S. Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, which focuses on advocating for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by environmental injustices and helped secure $3 billion in funding for Environmental Justice block grants in the Inflation Reduction Act.