BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The twin cities weren’t quite as affected by heavy rainfall Tuesday morning as other parts of Central Illinois.

However, Bloomington deals with combined sewer overflow issues as well in its older neighborhoods when rains get heavy and overload the sewer lines.

Kevin Kothe, the city’s public works director, said work is already underway to prevent water line backups during heavy rain events.

“Currently phase two is wrapping up, phase three is in construction. Phases four and five have started design work,” Kothe said.

It’s part of Bloomington’s multi-phase, $22 million Locust-Colton combined sewer overflow elimination project. The project has been a major infrastructure improvement project for the city since at least 2013. The goal is to have two separate sewer lines for sewage and stormwater.

“When it rains too hard, the pipe can fill up then it causes problems with Combined Sewer Overflow, but also people’s basement backups can occur if too much water gets in the pipe too fast,” Kothe said.

Last summer, Bloomington saw this happen following nearly a foot of rain falling in the area in late June. Those storms resulted in many basements being backed up with water and sewage as drains became overwhelmed.

Since then, Bloomington city leaders and public works crews have expedited the Locust-Colton project thanks to ARPA funding.

“The original goal was to have the project done by 2030, but we’ve moved it up and likely to be done by ’26,” Kothe said.

Kothe says the city is using a combo of state revolving fund loans and federal money to get the project done sooner. Eventually Bloomington taxes are used to payback the money borrowed from the state.

“On their monthly utility bill they pay a fee for the water they use and also the sewage system and so that funds these projects,” Kothe said.

Phases 1,3 and 7 are completed. Phases 2 and 3 are in construction. Bloomington hopes to have final plans for phases 4 and 5 by this winter and start construction by next spring.