Durbin Addresses Impact Of Flooding In Cahokia Heights And East St. Louis

Durbin Has Helped Secure $28 Million for Cahokia Heights Water Infrastructure

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today held a news conference with local officials to discuss the impact of flooding in the region after record-breaking storms late last month displaced residents with more than nine inches of rain falling in two days—an amount that would normally fall in a 75-day span. Prior to today’s new conference, Senator Durbin met with residents impacted by chronic flooding in Cahokia Heights and also visited sites in East St. Louis damaged by recent storms.

“When you combine aging sanitary sewer and storm water systems with the realities of climate-driven changes in weather, you have the recipe for chronic flooding that threatens the health and homes of families in the region,” Durbin said. “I have delivered $28 million in federal funding for Cahokia Heights for critical infrastructure projects to help provide effective solutions for area residents.”

Durbin was joined at today’s news conference by Cahokia Heights Mayor Curtis McCall Sr., East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III, and officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and HeartLands Conservancy.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), which Durbin supported, has provided $26.5 million to Cahokia Heights for water infrastructure projects via city, county, and state shares of ARP funding. Durbin also secured $1.5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending—also known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill for demonstration projects identified as part of HeartLands’ ongoing 95,000-acre Prairie Du Pont Watershed Plan study. The study is also funded by a $920,000 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and is driven by residents, advised by area experts, and will complement other projects in the area.

Durbin also requested the expertise of the Corps to help find solutions and has secured the necessary federal funding for the upcoming Corps study to analyze root causes of flooding in the Ping Pong area (Canal 1 Watershed), which is one of most impacted areas. The study is expected to recommend key future projects to alleviate flooding.

As a result of a scoping and documentation process fully funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Corps proposed a wastewater infrastructure assistance project on a section of sanitary trunk sewer crucial to prevent a bottleneck before arriving at the treatment plant. Durbin’s Fiscal Year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending request for $3.5 million to fund this project was included in the draft Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bills released by the Senate Appropriations Committee last month. The appropriations bills must be conferenced with the House bills before they are finalized, and Durbin will continue to join U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in advocating for the funding throughout the duration of the appropriations process.