Congressman LaHood on working with EPA to secure waiver for new water plant

By Blake Schnitker on December 21 at 1:38pm

There’s good news coming from an Illinois Congressman and the federal EPA regarding Jacksonville’s new water treatment plant.

Congressman Darin LaHood announced yesterday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, approved Jacksonville’s waiver application and found that the city followed all of the necessary steps to comply with current legal requirements.

The waiver was needed due to a federal provision that requires all entities that receive assistance from the Clean Water Revolving Fund and Drinking Water Revolving Fund to only use iron and steel products made in the United States. Congressman Darin LaHood visited Jacksonville’s new water treatment plant last month to check out some foreign-made products at the plant.

LaHood explains the provision and why things got held up for a bit.

“It had been held up because of a provision in our law that requires that everything that goes into the manufacturing and building of the plant had to be American made. There was a small part that went into the plant, and this is, as many people know, a $35 million plant, and this one part was a very minor part of the plant, but it was being held up by the EPA because of this law,” says LaHood.

LaHood also goes over the process of applying for and receiving the necessary waiver.

“We sought a waiver and we, over the last several months, have been working with the EPA to make sure this waiver was granted. If we didn’t get the waiver granted, the plant would not be able to open up. The waiver was long overdue and I’m glad to see that common sense prevailed in this decision and it was granted this week and now Jacksonville will be able to move forward with a much-needed new plant. I was honored to take part in that, along with a number of other people, to get this resolved,” LaHood says.

The Congressman gives an example of the important role the city’s water treatment plant will have.

“If you remember back in June of 2011, we had torrential rains that left 25,000 people without potable water in the city of Jacksonville for over three weeks, it was a terrible situation. The new treatment facility plant, which is on higher ground, is very very important to making sure we have a high quality of life in terms of water in Jacksonville, and this plant does that,” says LaHood.

LaHood also commended local city officials and Mayor Andy Ezard for their work in helping make this happen.