Durbin, Budzinski Attend Groundbreaking Ceremony for Cahokia Heights Sanitary Sewer Trunkline Project

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13) today attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Cahokia Heights sanitary sewer trunkline project, which will rehabilitate 17,000 lineal feet of the main sanitary sewer trunkline to provide a safe and reliable sewer system.

Durbin has secured more than $30 million in federal funding to address the ongoing flooding in Cahokia Heights, including $3.5 million in federal funding through Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS)—more commonly known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus appropriations bill for this project.

“For far too long, the residents of Cahokia Heights have endured the devastating impact of failing storm and sanitary water infrastructure, facing not only property damage, but also threats to their health and safety,” said Durbin. “The sanitary sewer trunkline project will address the immediate needs of the community while laying the foundation for more secure infrastructure and economic investment forgenerations to come. While there is still more work to be done, the progress being made by this project is representative of what federal, state, and local collaboration and cooperation can bring to communities like Cahokia Heights.”

“Cahokia Heights residents have been dealing with a flooding, sewage and drinking water crisis for decades – eroding home values and putting folks' health and safety at risk,” said Budzinski. “I was thrilled to join Senator Dick Durbin and local leaders to break ground on a sewage trunkline project that will finally address some of the infrastructure issues that have been causing this crisis. With projects like this taking shape and the work of our EPA coordinator, I’m hopeful that we can continue to bring about continued progress for the residents of this community.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) was not in attendance, but has also been instrumental in bringing relief to Cahokia Heights.

“Access to safe and reliable water systems is fundamental to ensuring basic living standards and public health,” said Duckworth. “But for far too long, this city has faced hardships that most of us could never imagine—from live sewage in and around people’s homes to uncertain access to clean, safe water—which is why one of my top priorities has been working to improve the everyday lives of Cahokia Heights residents and help address these persistent environmental justice issues. With the city’s infrastructure in need of a full overhaul, this new rehabilitation initiative will help make crucial progress toward improving the problems that plague this city by proactively upgrading the sanitary sewer trunkline and ensuring a more durable, long-lasting sewer system for generations to come. I’ll keep doing everything I can to help improve the infrastructure in Cahokia Heights and help improve the lives of its residents.”

Durbin increased the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) authorized funding limit forthe Metro East in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 and secured language in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 government funding bill supporting the Corps’ expansion of its ongoing study focusing on the Canal 1 Watershed to a broader area of Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis.

Durbin also led a letter with Duckworth and Budzinski to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) urging the agency to conduct a public health assessment on the impact of decades of flooding in Cahokia Heights.