The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency should make a decision soon on levee repair projects along the Mississippi River. The public comment period, which was extended by a week, expired Monday for repairs on 74 miles of flood protection levees in Madison, Monroe and Saint Clair counties. The extension of the comment period was granted because one group said they didn’t receive all of the paper work involved.
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“This is a very complicated project,” said Sanjay Sofat, division manager with the IEPA Bureau of Water. “There are three levee districts and there’s a huge volume of documents when you look at the documents that are involved.” Sofat says there are no problems that he’s aware of that would stop the repairs from occurring, but nothing has been carved in stone. “We don’t think there’s anything out there that we are not aware of but again, we have been wrong before where somebody could come from a different angle,” Sofat said.
As for the speed at which the projects could be approved, Sofat says it should be quick. “We are going to be doing everything possible in our capacity to make sure that we get things done ASAP, that we make our final decision as soon as possible,” Sofat said. Work can’t begin on the $150 million levee repair project until the state issues a permit.