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$9.5 million coming to Spring Valley

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley will receive $9.5 million from Illinois Jobs Now! to overhaul and repair its wastewater treatment plant.

Gov. Pat Quinn flew into the Illinois Valley Regional Airport in Peru late Wednesday afternoon to make the announcement to area officials. The $9.5 million to Spring Valley is part of more than $200 million in flood recovery assistance awarded so far this year to help communities recover from spring floods. Spring Valley’s wastewater treatment plant suffered extensive damage during the springtime flooding, and combined with its advanced age, was in dire need of repair, the governor said.

Spring Valley Mayor Walt Marini called the grant a “godsend” to Spring Valley.

“(Wednesday) was a great day for Spring Valley, and I can’t thank the governor and Reps. Frank Mautino and Sue Rezin enough for helping us to get this award,” he said.

Marini explained since the flooding in April, the city discovered the insurance money, monies from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and funds in the city’s budget wouldn’t be enough to cover the costs for a new wastewater treatment plant.

“We looked at additional ways of funding and worked with Frank Mautino who has just been great and helped us to get this grant, which will cover the expense for a whole new plant,” he said. “It won’t be just putting good money into an old plant and trying to get by.”

In a press release Thursday, Quinn reviewed some of the damage caused by the April rains and flooding. Specifically in Spring Valley, the Illinois River broke one of the wastewater treatment plant’s levees and flooded it, causing extensive structural and grounds damage as well as damage to equipment, including the plant’s generator and electrical systems.

Marini explained after the flooding, the entire plant sat under water for days.

Originally constructed in 1958, the Spring Valley plant has not had a major upgrade since 1985, Quinn said. Even without the impact of flooding, most of the plant has reached the end of its service life and is no longer capable of consistently meeting effluent standards for several materials listed in the required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

Because of this, just days before the flooding, Spring Valley went under a consent order from the attorney general to address their wastewater treatment plant issues and had been working with state officials to move the plant project forward.

The Spring Valley plant currently pumps about 850,000 gallons of water a day and serves about 6,000 people.

The new funding for Spring Valley will be used for a facility renovation, including the repair or replacement beyond its usable life and sludge removal from the aerated lagoon, with the goal of complying with its permits through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).

Marini said construction most likely won’t get started until early 2015. He explained it will take time to get the designs prepared and the permits to be approved by the IEPA. The press release stated the project should be competed by 2017.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett commented on the Spring Valley project.

“This project underscores the importance of having modern water infrastructure not only for public safety, but for the progress of a community,” Bonnett said. “While these floods caused enormous hardships, they are an opportunity for communities to look forward and see how state capital funding and Gov. Quinn’s Clean Water Initiative can help them improve their quality of life.”

Marini also pointed out all the new major projects coming to Spring Valley, which include the construction of a new $32 million high school, a new addition to the John F. Kennedy Elementary School, a new assisted living center at St. Bede Academy, a Sullivan’s Foods grocery store, a new Route 89 bridge over the Illinois River and now the new wastewater treatment plant.

“There’s probably close to $100 million that’s going into Spring Valley. That means jobs for people not only in Spring Valley but all around the Illinois Valley,” he said.

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