BACK OF THE YARDS — The state will loan Chicago $25 million for critical upgrades to the city’s aging water system, Gov. Pat Quinn announced Friday.
“We have to realize that we have water mains more than a century old and we have to do something about that,” Quinn said.
The low-interest loan will be used to repair more than 18 miles of water pipes throughout the city, part of the state’s $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative launched last year.
Roughly 25 percent of the city’s 4,000 miles of underground pipes were installed more than 100 years ago, city water officials said.
Piece by piece, crews have been working to modernize the system at a rate of about 42 miles per year. The new money will help accelerate the rate to about 75 miles per year, state officials said.
Without the state’s loan, the pace of the ongoing projects would be “seriously hampered,” city water chief Tom Powers said.
Quinn made the announcement at the intersection of 52nd and Aberdeen streets, where crews have begun a $500,000 repair project that will replace 1,300 feet of water main that was installed in 1891.
Together, the entire project is expected to create about 300 jobs, Quinn said.