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CHICAGO – A new law supported and co-sponsored by State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) will help provide affordable and safe drinking water to more Illinoisans.

“Every person has the right to affordable and safe drinking water,” Jones said. “Cost should never be a barrier to obtaining basic needs.”

Under House Bill 414, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity can to make direct payments to participating utility providers on behalf of qualified customers. This will be done through the Water and Sewer Low-Income Assistance Fund. This fund will help ensure that low-income Illinois residents can afford safe drinking water and related sewer services. Older adults and people with disabilities will also receive prioritization for financial assistance.

Utility providers have the choice of opting into this program managed by the DCEO.

“Water and sewer services are very much issues of public safety,” Jones said. “The whole community suffers when people don’t have access to basic necessities like clean water.”

The new law takes effect immediately.