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Governor Quinn Announces Kankakee Clean Water Project to Create 600 Construction Jobs

Press Release

Location: Kankakee, IL

Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $21.5 million investment for a major upgrade of the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency (KRMA) wastewater treatment plant that will create more than 600 construction jobs in the area. This announcement is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to drive Illinois' economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois' water infrastructure. Funded by a low-interest loan through Governor Quinn's $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative (ICWI), the project will help prevent pollutants from entering the Kankakee River and meet the clean water needs of 70,000 people.

"Clean water is key to a community's health and economic strength," Governor Pat Quinn said. "Today's announcement means jobs for the Kankakee region and improved water quality for local residents. The Illinois Clean Water Initiative is creating jobs by helping our communities meet the future needs of their families and businesses, while also cleaning up our rivers."

The KRMA treatment plant serves the communities of Kankakee, Aroma Park, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Chebanse and Manteno. It currently serves a population of 68,884 customers, but that is projected to grow to about 104,000 by the year 2030. On average more than 25 million gallons flow through the plant every day.

The upgrades will bring the plant into compliance with current requirements for dissolved oxygen, ammonia and heavy metal limits in the plant's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System for the plant's effluent discharges into the Kankakee River after treatment. Among the upgrades is a replacement of the anaerobic digestion system, adding flow tanks and replacing dechlorination equipment.

"I fully support the Clean Water Initiative's project to upgrade the KRMA Wastewater Treatment Plant" U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill) said. "This project is not only critical to preserving the vitality of the river and the supply of clean drinking water for residents, it will also serve as a much-needed economic engine for the region, creating more than 2,800 direct and indirect jobs."

"By upgrading the region's wastewater treatment plant, we can improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of residents through substantially reduced pollution in the Kankakee River, which will be key to the region's population growth and business expansion for years to come," Lisa Bonnett, Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said. "For the individual citizen, this means a cleaner and more beautiful Kankakee River to enjoy, whether for canoeing, fishing or just walking along the banks."

The funding announced today is part of a total $56 million critical upgrade of the 75-year-old plant. Construction on the project began last fall with a $15 million loan from the Wastewater State Revolving Fund administered by the Illinois EPA. The project is expected to be complete within about three years.

The entire project is estimated to create approximately 610 direct construction jobs for area trade union members, including laborers, plumbers, pipefitters, operating engineers, electricians, teamsters, painters and carpenters, as well as about 2,248 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.

"This kind of investment puts people to work strengthening their own communities and I want to thank Governor Quinn for making it happen," Mike Smith, President of the Kankakee Federation of Labor said. "This project has helped so many of my members provide for their families now and it lays the groundwork for growth in the future."

"A strong water system means a stronger local economy and that means more construction," Steve Magruder, President of the Kankakee & Iroquois Building and Construction Trades Council said. "Governor Quinn knows that a big project like overhauling the treatment plant is a shot in the arm for everyone in the area."

"Governor Quinn's Clean Water Initiative hits a triple," Chris Meister, Executive Director of the Illinois Finance Authority said. "It puts thousands of women and men of the unionized buildings and trades to work. It saves money for local tax and rate payers by cutting interest costs. And it ensures clean safe drinking water for the people of Illinois."

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 total water infrastructure needs in Illinois over the next 20 years total $32 billion, including $17 billion in wastewater projects (which is the 6th highest among the states) and $15 billion in drinking water projects (4th highest need in the nation).

To learn more about Governor Quinn's Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit

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