January 15, 2013

Grant will Support Rerouting of Water Main That Supplies Water to More Than 30,000 People

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) today announced a grant totaling $1,864,680 to the Rend Lake Conservancy District (RLCD) for a water main relocation project. The project will expedite future repairs to the system that provides water to more than 39,000 people in Jefferson County.

"A safe and reliable water supply is critical to public health and safety," said IEMA Assistant Director Joe Klinger. "While we can't predict if or when a major earthquake or other disaster could strike, we can take proactive actions such as this project to reduce the potential impact on local residents."

The grant was awarded through the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and is administered by IEMA. The grant represents 75 percent of the expected total project costs, with RLCD providing the remaining costs.

The water main currently lies underneath Rend Lake north of Whittington. The project will involve construction of a bypass around the lake to provide permanent access to the water main for future repairs. The move will reduce the potential for residents in Mt. Vernon and several other area communities to experience extended periods without drinking water in the event of a major earthquake.

The City of Mt. Vernon is grateful to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for providing this funding to the Rend Lake Conservancy District," said Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. "This new transmission line will provide a secure and efficient flow of water to Mt. Vernon, which not only assists an increase of quality of life, but assists in our economic development efforts."

The 18-inch water main provides potable water to the Jefferson County communities of Belle Rive, Bluford, Bonnie, Dix, Ina, Mt. Vernon, Nason, Waltonville and Woodlawn. The water system is owned and operated by the Conservancy District.

"This project is one of the top priorities for Rend Lake Conservancy District. We appreciate all the support IEMA and many others have given," said RLCD General Manager Keith Thomason.

IEMA administers Illinois' Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a variety of hazard mitigation projects. Communities must have an adopted hazard mitigation plan to apply for grant funds.

IEMA is highlighting hazard mitigation during January as part of its 2013 preparedness campaign. For more information about ways individuals and communities can reduce the impacts of disasters, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.