Cahokia Heights FAQs

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District is supporting the community of Cahokia Heights, Illinois, with project and technical assistance under two separate authorities in two specific areas of the community.    

Wastewater Infrastructure FAQs

The Environmental Infrastructure Program is a Congressionally enacted authority under Section 219 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1992. The Section 219 authority provides the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) the ability to assist non-Federal interests, such as a city or county government, in carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects. Assistance may be in the form of design, construction, or design and construction for wastewater treatment and related facilities and water supply, storage, treatment, and distribution facilities. 

In March 2022, USACE, St. Louis District received Federal funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the amount of $25,000 to document a wastewater infrastructure assistance project requested by the non-Federal sponsor (City of Cahokia Heights, Illinois) in a Federal decision document known as a Letter Report. The Letter Report defines the scope of Federal construction assistance, describes the environmental compliance requirements for the proposed work, serves as the basis for allowing USACE to enter into a Project Partnership Agreement with the city, and establishes the implementation responsibilities between USACE and the city. While we are documenting this Federal assistance project, we have also submitted a Federal budget request for construction implementation funding in the Federal fiscal year 2023 budget.  Senator Durbin has supported this Federal budget request through the Community Directed Funding process found at https://www.durbin.senate.gov/issues/fy-2023-earmark-disclosures. Actual implementation of the wastewater infrastructure assistance project will depend on an appropriations bill being passed and allocation of funds to the project. 

In a January 2022 meeting with the city, their engineer, and representatives from USEPA Region 5, USACE explained the Section 219 Program and general assistance parameters to help inform what type of assistance project USACE could support under this authority. The parameters given were that the project needs to be water or wastewater infrastructure focused, shovel ready, would involve approximately $3 Million dollars in initial Federal support, and should have minimal real estate acquisition or utility relocation requirements. At the time, the City Engineer was working through final terms of a grant through the State of Illinois with a defined scope of urgent wastewater improvement projects that are considered shovel ready in the amount of $10M. In March 2022, the city Engineer informed USACE that the best opportunity would be to assist with cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) lining of a large portion of sanitary sewer trunkline. USACE coordinated the proposed project with USEPA Region 5 officials who validated it was a necessary project. USACE initiated a federal decision document called a Letter Report in May 2022 to document our federal assistance project. Our planned support is focused on the trunkline that runs nearly the length of the city from northeast to southwest, picking up all sanitary sewer lines along the way, before reaching the southernmost pump station on Levin Drive. If the trunk sewer line fails, then the entire sanitary sewer collection and transport network fails for the entire city. Therefore, this assistance project is a critical part of the sanitary sewer infrastructure as it serves as the main conduit that carries all water from a flushed toilet, sink or bathtub drain to the American Bottoms Wastewater Treatment Plant for processing.

Trenchless methods of rehabilitation use the existing pipe as a host for a new pipe or liner. Trenchless sewer rehabilitation techniques offer a method of correcting pipe deficiencies without execution of a labor-intensive dig and-replace method. A trenchless sewer rehabilitation method known as Cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) renewal process will be used and involves a flexible fabric liner, coated with a thermosetting resin, inserted into the existing pipeline and cured to form a new liner. The liner is typically inserted into the existing pipe through an existing manhole. The fabric tube holds the resin in place until the tube is inserted in the pipe and ready to be cured. Commonly manufactured resins include unsaturated polyester, vinyl ester, and epoxy, with each having distinct chemical resistance to domestic wastewater. The CIPP method can be applied to rehabilitate existing sewer lines with defects such as cracks, offset joints, and structurally deficient segments. The thermosetting resin material bonds with the existing pipe materials to form a tighter seal than most other trenchless techniques. The two primary methods of installing CIPP are winch-in-place and invert-in-place. The more typically applied inversion-in-place method uses gravity and either water or air pressure to force the tube through the pipe and invert it or turn the tube inside out. This process of inversion presses the resin-coated tube against the walls of the existing pipe. During both methods, heat is then circulated through the tube to cure the resin to form a strong bond between the tube and the existing pipe.

Following the request by the city in March 2022, USACE coordinated via e-mail and conducted site visit on April 5, 2022 with USEPA as well as coordinated the request through our interagency partnership meeting with Federal and State agencies for review and concurrence. This trunkline runs nearly the length of the city from northeast to southwest, collecting and transporting all the sanitary sewer lines along its path, before reaching the southernmost pump station on Levin Drive. If the trunk sewer line fails, then the entire sanitary sewer collection and transport network fails for the entire city. Therefore, this assistance project is a critical part of the sanitary sewer infrastructure as it serves as the main conduit that carries all water from a flushed toilet, sink or bathtub drain in the city and is transported to the American Bottoms Wastewater Treatment Plant for processing. The city and their engineer through various grant sources have secured funding to address sanitary sewer components that enable transport to the sanitary sewer trunk line. These components include the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of gravity sewer mains, force mains and sewer laterals and lift station upgrades. Collectively these improvements are intended to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows, reduce or eliminate system surcharging, eliminate sewer service backups, reduce operation and maintenance cost, meet level of service expected by the community and increase reliability and continuity of sewer service.    

For details on how your sanitary sewer is oriented in your neighborhood, please contact your city officials. 

The Letter Report defines the scope of Federal construction assistance, describes the environmental compliance requirements for the proposed work, serves as the basis for allowing USACE to enter into a Project Partnership Agreement with the city, and establishes the implementation responsibilities between USACE and the city. The Project Partnership Agreement, once signed by USACE and the city, will outline the roles and responsibilities of each party in implementing the project.

This specific Letter Report will provide Federal construction assistance for the rehabilitation of sanitary trunk sewer, including inspecting, cleaning, and installing cast-in-place pipe (aka “slip lining”) for the largest, deepest, and most downstream sections of the main sanitary sewer trunkline conveying flow through the city, prior to it being pumped to the American Bottoms Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for treatment.

The Federal share of the project cost is 75 percent, and the city must contribute at least 25 percent of the total project costs. USACE will advertise and award a competitive contract after execution of the Project Partnership Agreement. USACE will perform quality assurance, manage all contract administration actions, and coordinate construction inspection activities during construction. After construction is complete, the city is responsible for future Operation, Maintenance, Repair, Rehabilitation and Replacement. 

The City of Cahokia Heights, through their contractor Hurst-Rosche, Inc., will finalize plans and specifications for the proposed project and submit them to USACE. Plans and specifications for work to be performed will be formatted into USACE standards and a Biddability, Constructability, Operability, Environmental and Sustainability (BCOES) review will be conducted by a team of technical experts. After completion of the BCOES review, USACE will move forward with advertisement and award of a competitive contract. USACE will perform quality assurance, manage all contract administration actions, and coordinate construction inspection activities during construction of the project. Once the project is completed it is turned over to the non-Federal sponsor who is responsible for 100% of the operations and maintenance on the project.

Flood Hazard Analysis FAQs

Flood hazard areas identified on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). SFHA are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood. While the community is protected from overbank Mississippi River flooding the area is still vulnerable to flooding based on flat low-lying terrain, impervious surfaces such as asphalt and concrete, soils with slow infiltration and overall poor drainage following heavy rainfall.

The East St. Louis Levee System is located in Madison and St. Clair Counties, Illinois. The Federal project, originally constructed between the 1930s and 1950s, reduces the risk of flooding from the Mississippi River to the communities of East St. Louis, Cahokia Heights, Sauget, Madison, Brooklyn, Venice, Fairmont City, and Granite City and many heavy and light industries, airports, transportation hubs, and hospitals. The levee system has undergone several major modifications, including most recently projects to correct underseepage deficiencies. The system is nearly 29 miles in length and consists of two segments: the Metro East Sanitary District (MESD) levee, operated by local interests, and the Chain of Rocks East levee, operated by USACE.  The East St. Louis levee system has prevented the communities from Mississippi River flooding during numerous major flood events and has been recently accredited by FEMA.

Piat Place was not identified as an area of flooding concern by city officials. The Floodplain Management Services (FPMS) program (authorized by Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act, as amended) provides information on flood hazards to local interests, State agencies, Tribes, and other Federal agencies to guide floodplain management. The initial request for technical assistance to conduct a flood hazard analysis and flood mitigation recommendations was made by the City of Cahokia Heights with the delineated area of concern identified as St. Clair Avenue to the north, Lake Drive to the south, Harding Ditch to the west and IL Route 157 to the east. This request not only included the municipal boundary of Cahokia Heights it also included the City of East St. Louis. In May 2022 we met with the City Manager and Public Work Director for the City of East St. Louis about our ability to support the city. During this meeting there was not a specific mention for further assistance in the Piat Place watershed. A Centreville Citizens for Change representative who resides in Piat Place expressed concerns with sanitary sewer backups and surcharging in a July 7, 2022 meeting hosted by Senator Durbin’s staff. We have further evaluated the request to expand the flood hazard analysis into Piat Place watershed and our hydraulic engineer has informed that the watershed appears to be hydraulically disconnected from Harding Ditch, contains multiple barriers that will require more detailed analysis on how to positively drain the area and that solutions to flooding problems in Piat Place cannot be mitigated by recommendations presented in the current study area. Based on these facts, Piat Place will require a separate request by the Cities of Cahokia Heights and East St. Louis triggering the development of a scope of work, schedule, and future funding request under our FPMS Program.  

Under the Floodplain Management Services Authority these requests are made by local units of government. The initial request was made by Cahokia Heights with the delineated area of concern also involving the City of East St. Louis. When the city was engaged about our ability to support the city, there was not a specific mention for further assistance in the Piat Place watershed.

Under our flood hazard analysis, we will be evaluating various rainfall frequencies and runoff from surrounding watersheds to the defined project area. Current conditions in the watershed, such as highways will be factored into the hydrology and hydraulic analysis.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list as there are many prior efforts that USACE is unaware of.

  • East St. Louis & Vicinity Ecosystem Restoration Study (USACE) - Complete
  • Canal 1 Reach B Emergency Work and Maintenance (MESD) - Complete
  • Prairie Du Pont Watershed Study – Ongoing

The Floodplain Management Services (FPMS) program (authorized by Section 206 of the 1960 Flood Control Act) provides information on flood hazards to local interests, State agencies, Tribes, and other Federal agencies to guide floodplain development. FPMS program services are provided to State, Tribal, regional, and local governments at no cost, within program funding limits. When funding is available, USACE will work with the requesting organization to develop a scope of work and assemble the appropriate study team for the effort being requested. Requests for assistance under the FPMS program should be submitted by an appropriate representative of a non-Federal partner to the local District and include the location and nature of the problem to be investigated.

FPMS general planning guidance provides assistance in the form of “special studies” on all aspects of floodplain management planning including the possible impacts of off-floodplain land use changes on the physical, socio-economic, and environmental conditions of the floodplain. Special studies can range from helping a community identify present or future floodplain areas and related problems, to a broad assessment of which various remedial measures may be effectively used. Some of the most common types of special studies include: floodplain delineation/flood hazard evaluation studies; dam break analysis studies; hurricane evacuation studies; flood warning/preparedness studies; regulatory floodway studies; comprehensive floodplain management studies; flood damage reduction studies; urbanization impact studies; stormwater management studies; flood proofing studies; and inventories of flood-prone structures.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Louis District
Programs & Project Management

1222 Spruce Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-2833
(314) 331-8012