EPA Regional Administrator Visits Central Illinois, Highlights Over $6 Million for Clean Water Projects
PEORIA, Ill. (August 27, 2020) – Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede concluded a trip to central Illinois, where he announced $6.7 million in funding for clean water projects across the state.
“Under the Trump Administration, U.S. EPA has placed a high priority on reducing nonpoint source pollution, especially nutrient runoff, and has made significant progress in protecting our lakes, rivers and streams,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “We look forward to continuing to work together with our state partners to make an even greater impact in restoring and protecting water quality in Illinois.”
Regional Administrator Thiede began the day by touring brownfields and redevelopment efforts underway at the former Tabor property in south Peoria. Earlier this summer EPA selected the city of Peoria to receive a $500,000 Brownfields grant for cleanup efforts at the property. The site consists of five contiguous parcels that were used for various commercial and industrial activities, including a junkyard, salvage yard, rail storage yard, bulk oil and gasoline filling station, offices, and used car sales. It is contaminated by semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs, pesticides, and metals. Grant funds also will be used to support community involvement activities.
“Our grant writers did a ton of hard work to secure this grant,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “We are excited to receive the award from the EPA because it's going to put a strategically located property back in use. The grant money will remediate the environmental conditions of the property and add another business opportunity on this major corridor in our community.”
Following his Peoria stop, Regional Administrator Thiede visited Strom Farms in nearby Dahinda, where he participated in a roundtable discussion with the Illinois Farm Bureau and local farmers on best management practices and strategies to reduce nonpoint source runoff. He also highlighted a $6.7 million Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant that was recently awarded to Illinois EPA for its program to reduce nonpoint source pollution across the state. Illinois EPA uses those funds to implement the Illinois NPS Management Program including grant awards to local sponsors for projects that address rural and urban nonpoint source pollution, including nutrient runoff, that impairs water quality in priority watersheds throughout the state.
“Illinois Farm Bureau members appreciated the opportunity to host U.S. EPA Region 5 staff for a roundtable discussion regarding issues impacting farmers this morning,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. “It was a thoughtful dialogue between agency staff and a group of Illinois farmers. Our farmers enjoyed sharing their ongoing nutrient stewardship efforts and hearing more about Regional Administrator Thiede’s vision for collaboration between the agricultural community. We look forward to building on these meaningful connections into the future.”
“Illinois EPA has partnered with U.S. EPA to implement the Section 319 grant program for more than 30 years. In that time, we have seen substantial reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments delivered into Illinois’ rivers, lakes, and streams,” said Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim. “Illinois EPA anticipates announcing 13 new grant awards to local and State partners to further reduce pollution loads. Some of these projects will develop watershed-based plans, created by residents in conjunction with local, State, federal partners, and document types of projects and activities needed in the watershed to protect the local river, lake, or stream. Watershed-based plan implementation is voluntary, which highlights the importance of local residents and watershed partners involvement in plan development and implementation.”
This year’s Section 319 grants in Illinois are expected to reduce 10,000 tons of sediment, 10,000 pounds of phosphorus, 20,000 pounds of nitrogen and 50,000 pounds of total suspended solids from priority watersheds.
Earlier this week, Regional Administrator Thiede was joined by Rep. Adam Kinzinger and DePue Mayor Eric Bryant for a tour of the DePue Superfund site, where work recently began to clean up 100 priority residential properties.
“The high volume of contaminants in DePue is alarming, to say the least. But I’m beyond pleased to see the intensity of the clean-up underway for the safety of our residents. Yesterday, I saw firsthand the special attention DePue schools and residential neighborhoods have received with the now completed clean-up efforts, as well as the work that continues in surrounding locations,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger. “I want to thank U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for heeding our concerns and designating the DePue Superfund Site to the Administrator’s Emphasis List. I also want to thank U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede for coming out to DePue yesterday and taking such an active role in spurring this clean-up effort for our community. The work continues, but I am grateful to know things are moving quickly and that the safety and health of our citizens is at the forefront of the U.S. EPA’s mission.”
The site, which at one time contained a zinc smelter and a phosphate fertilizer plant, is contaminated with heavy metals including zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper and manganese. In April, EPA announced the addition of the DePue site to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund sites that will benefit from immediate action to move cleanup efforts forward.