Peoples Gas - Notifications made immediately after gas leak discovered

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Decatur, Ill (WAND) – Peoples Gas says it contacted appropriate agencies when it learned of a 2016 natural gas leak at one of its wells in Champaign County that impacted drinking water in several area homes.

Brain Manthey, Director of Corporate Communications for Peoples Gas, tells WAND our story on June 1, 2018 which stated the incident was not reported “until months later” is inaccurate.  Here is his response:

In your story about the Mahomet Aquifer legislation Friday evening, you said Peoples Gas did not report the incident ‘until months later’. That is completely inaccurate.

We did contact the appropriate agencies when we learned the leak was below the surface on December 16, 2016:

  • December 16-20
    • Contacted local, state and federal agencies including National Response Center, Illinois EPA, DNR, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and Champaign County Emergency Response.
    • Began testing private wells at homes located near McCord #2 – concentric circles from the source.
  • Dec. 20 and beyond
    • Provided regular updates regarding the status of the situation to those agencies.
    • Expanded residential well testing which eventually included anyone in the area that wanted a well test.

On October 6, 2017 WAND News interviewed Matthew Duco, an attorney with Spiros Law Firm, who represents families that had their water impacted by the gas leak.  During the interview Duco stated the following regarding notification to those families:

“Each one of the families we represent they brought their concerns to Peoples Gas.  Peoples Gas did not contact them and this would have been months after Peoples Gas knew about the leak and had reportedly discovered the leak.”

On June 1, 2018, in Monticello, State Senator Chapin Rose, (R) Mahomet, discussed a bill passed by the legislature on May 31, 2018 to strengthen reporting requirements in the event of future incidents like the gas leak.  Rose told WAND News:

“They certainly did not have a good faith effort to notify anybody locally.  Ok?  Did they technically comply with federal requirements?  Yes.  Did anybody locally really know what happened?  Absolutely not.”

Senator Rose went on to say:

“There’s three local water intake systems around there.  Fisher, Mahomet, the Village of Mahomet and Sangamon Valley Water.  None of them were told about this.  It was just terrible.”

The legislation passed by the General Assembly has been sent to Governor Rauner.

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