Aquifer task force recommendations coming in September

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Mahomet, Ill (WAND) – The Mahomet Aquifer task force says it will have recommendations in September for possible legislation to protect one the states largest sources of drinking water.

The aquifer provides water for an estimated 850,000 people in central Illinois.  Decatur taps into the aquifer during droughts.

Protecting the aquifer has gained interest in recent years after a landfill in Clinton tried to put potentially toxic PCBs on its property.  A more recent incident involving a leak of natural gas from a storage well contaminated some Mahomet area water wells.  The task force will also examine the placement of old garbage dumps above the aquifer.

The 2016 natural gas leak remains a main focus of the task force.  State Senator Chapin Rose, (R) Illinois, wants to beef up regulations and fines in the event of future incidents.

“This is an important resource for central Illinois,” Rose told WAND News.  “We’ve got to protect it.”

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of 17 residents last week by Spiros Law in Champaign which says the leak, from the Peoples Gas facility, had made several homes “essentially worthless.”

Peoples Gas tells WAND News the residents have received letters from the Illinois Department of Public Health stating their water is safe to drink.  The company has also been providing bottled drinking water.  The company goes on to state naturally occurring methane is common.  Peoples Gas says it tested 80 water wells and found 50 have naturally occurring methane.

Senator Rose is expected to prepare new legislation to protect the aquifer in the coming months.

(Pictured: Mahomet Aquifer task force meeting in Mahomet June 18, 2018)   

  

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