Richard Rand (left) shows U.S. Rep. John Shimkus around the Lawrenceville water plant.
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) last week joined local leaders to announce the availability of technical assistance for rural water systems.
The new law reauthorizes $15 million each year through 2020 for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) technical assistance program for small, public water systems, and requires EPA to target the training and technical assistance funds appropriated by Congress to programs most beneficial to small and rural communities.
“A major source of financial stress for small and rural drinking water supply systems is compliance with EPA regulations,” Shimkus said. “These communities need access to technical professionals to help find the most cost-effective way to identify repair and replacement options for their systems, and to comply with EPA standards.”
Shimkus was joined at each location by Illinois Rural Water Association Executive Director Frank Dunmire. The IRWA represents approximately 800 small communities, water districts and co-ops.
“Almost all of the more than 3,500 community water supplies in Illinois are dependent on on-site technical assistance and training while they struggle with complying with the ever-growing list of EPA regulations,” Dunmire said. “It is through this training and on-site assistance that many communities avoid violations and/or hefty fines.”
As chairman of the Environment and Economy Subcommittee, Shimkus led passage of the rural water bill in November.
“Illinois, and the country as a whole, are fortunate to have John chairing a committee that can ensure that small community water supplies have the needed tools to provide safe drinking water,” Dunmire said.