Congressman Darin LaHood and Congresswoman Lori Trahan Introduce Legislation to Help Communities Upgrade Aging Sewer Systems
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA) introduced new legislation to support the cleanup of CSO contamination in rivers across the United States, including the Illinois River. The Stop Sewage Overflow Act dramatically expands and improves the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program (Section 221), which is used to award federal grants to states and municipalities for the planning, design, and construction for combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, or stormwater management.
Combined sewer overflows are a product of combined sewer systems, which are in use by more than 800 communities across the nation. These systems are particularly common in the Northeast and Midwest, where they trigger harmful releases of raw sewage when precipitation exceeds manageable levels.
“In Peoria, outdated and overwhelmed sewage systems have caused overflow at times into the Illinois River, allowing untreated and contaminated sewage to be released into the water. As cities with CSOs, like Peoria, have worked to address compliance issues, dealing with federal agencies has been a challenge and our legislation aims to ease the burdensome pressure placed on these communities. Investing in the cleanup of sewage infrastructure will expand access to cleaner water and our bill ensures local municipalities across the country have access to the resources they need to update outdated sewage systems,” stated Rep. LaHood. “I am proud to join Congresswoman Trahan in this effort and I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide Peoria and communities across central and west-central Illinois the proper infrastructure resources they need to keep our communities clean.”
“This legislation will not only help ease the financial burden placed on communities like Peoria who are working to solve CSO issues, but it will also open up more avenues to resources and cost-sharing opportunities as projects move forward,” stated Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “I applaud Rep. LaHood and Rep. Trahan on their bipartisan approach to help communities like Peoria who are working to navigate solutions to improve CSO systems while keeping the local taxpayer in mind.”
“The Merrimack River is a vital resource for residents of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District, supplying drinking water to hundreds of thousands of people across the region. That is why the current state of contamination is so concerning,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “The federal government has an obligation to help municipalities like Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, and Manchester make urgently needed upgrades to their sewer infrastructure to help prevent this sort of pollution from jeopardizing the health and economic wellbeing of residents who depend on the river. I am proud to introduce the Stop Sewage Overflow Act to give municipalities the help they’ve been asking for, and happy that the legislation has bipartisan support. This problem afflicts towns and cities across the US. I’m proud to work with Rep. LaHood on this urgent issue.”
Specifically, the Stop Sewage Overflow Act increases the authorization of the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program to $500 million annually, extends the authorization of the program through 2030, prioritizes communities that have endured the most sewage overflows, and raises the federal cost-share based upon a community’s ability to fund improvements.
How this legislation will help Peoria:
- This legislation will open avenues for more federal funding
- Increase opportunity to receive more cost-sharing mechanisms
- Helps prioritize communities with CSO issues and moves them “up the list” to receive financial assistance