U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today joined with Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and other local leaders to call for swift approval of a 100% green infrastructure proposal that would save money for residents while improving water quality and infrastructure and creating jobs in central Illinois.
"I am here to make sure that just because this technology is new, it does not get blocked by the EPA," Senator Kirk said. "Peoria's proposal should be the gold standard for sewage overflow systems across the Mississippi River Basin. Peoria's ingenuity will ensure only clean water is returning to our rivers and lakes."
Currently, the city of Peoria faces millions of dollars in fines and a mandate to begin work on an unfunded $260 million "gray" infrastructure project if it does not comply with EPA regulations. Rather than go forward with the EPA plan that would force residents to shoulder the massive costs and hire an outside contractor, the city of Peoria seeks EPA approval of its 100% Green Infrastructure Plan to enhance its combined sewer overflow management.
Senator Kirk today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging approval of The City's green infrastructure plan that would lower the costs of the project, employ local contractors, and revitalize the city. The first of its kind, Peoria's 100% green plan could be a gold standard for communities grappling with similar problems, including in the Great Lakes Basin and across our nation.
Illinois is home to 100 communities with combined sewer overflows (CSOs), which combine sewage and storm water into the same pipe. Melting snow or heavy rain can cause the CSO to overflow, which can damage nearby land and water sources.
Over the past 9 months, the city of Peoria has created a detailed engineering plan for a green infrastructure solution, which will reduce CSOs, improve nearby neighborhoods and employ local labor to encourage economic growth. On March 12, the city of Peoria submitted a detailed Green Infrastructure Plan to the EPA that would require a nineteen year schedule to ensure safety to the community and the environment.