The Stickney Water Reclamation Plant

Illinois awards low-interest loans for drinking water, wastewater improvements

May 17, 2024

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is investing nearly $205 million in low-interest loans to support drinking water, wastewater and stormwater projects across the state.

The funds are allocated for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2024 through the Illinois EPA State Revolving Fund (SRF) Program. The loan program will help 17 local governments and water districts address aging and failing water infrastructure.

Illinois EPA remains committed to helping to remedy deteriorating and failing infrastructure across our state by being a solid funding resource for communities in need of long-term, low-interest, and subsidized funding.” Illinois EPA Director John Kim said in an announcement.

The Illinois EPA is offering loans at a 1.81% interest rate. The money will be split between two programs:

  • The Water Pollution Control Loan Program, designated for wastewater systems and stormwater controls.
  • The Public Water Supply Loan Program, dedicated to improving drinking water systems. 

The programs are funded through a combination of federal capitalization grants, state matching funds, interest earnings, repayment money and bond sale proceeds. The state matching funds for fiscal years 2020-2024 are provided through the $33.2 billion Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.

Of the 17 local governments receiving loans, the City of Joliet has received the largest amount at $76.5 million. The funds will allow the city to replace 31 miles of water mains that are too small for the populations served or have become deteriorated and prone to breaks. The city will also use a portion of the funds to repair or replace fire hydrants and valves. 

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in Cook County, where the city of Chicago is located, received two loans totaling more than $53 million. The loans will provide funds for sewer maintenance and construction of a sewer line to connect to the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, one of the largest wastewater treatment facilities in the world.

Located southeast of the state capital Springfield, the Christian County Water Reclamation District received a $25 million loan. The water district will use funds to improve its wastewater treatment facility with new grit removal systems, upgrade tanks to more effectively remove phosphorus and nitrogen from waste, and upgrade pump stations.

The Illinois EPA also provided over $20.6 million in loan forgiveness to recipients meeting the loan rules for communities with small populations or financial hardships. This additional support assists small and disadvantaged communities in accessing funding for water infrastructure improvements. For example, $5 million of the loan to the Christian County Water Reclamation District qualifies under the loan provision agreement. 

The remaining 14 loan recipients are a mix of water districts and municipalities. Their loan amounts range from slightly under $317,000 up to $17 million. More information about water infrastructure loan programs at the Illinois EPA is available on the state agency’s website. On July 1, the Illinois EPA will set interest rates for loans throughout the 2025 fiscal year. 

Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching