Ottawa receives $500,000 grant to separate sewer flows

The city of Ottawa will receive some financial help from the state to separate its storm sewer flow from the sanitary/combined sewer system.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the recipients of the 2019 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for public infrastructure and Ottawa received $500,000 towards a $630,091 project to separate the sewer flows.

The city worked with North Central Illinois Council of Governments in obtaining the grant.

The issue came up at a July City Council meeting where it was discussed that the city's current wastewater treatment plan is not built with the capacity to treat both stormwater runoff as well as sanitary flow.

The additional roughly $130,000 will come from the city's combined sewer service fees, not including the around $146,000 to pay for engineering and grant application fees.

The Illinois Department of Commerce said the grants are to help "low-income communities" undertake necessary public infrastructure projects.

"It is important the state support public infrastructure improvements as they become the backbone of future growth and economic development," said Gov. JB Pritzker in a press release. "This year, DCEO had a 40% increase in applications for this grant indicating the great need in our communities."

Funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Infrastructure program is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). State-administered funds are available for communities that do not receive their own CDBG funding from HUD.

Twenty-six communities across the state will receive federal funds totaling $12.5 million, including $500,000 to the city of La Salle for storm sewer construction and $425,000 to the city of Toluca for wastewater treatment plant improvements.