Legislators’ Measure Seeks State Protection for Aquifer
By Jeff Bossert
Two East Central Illinois legislators want to give more municipalities a voice to protect the Mahomet Aquifer.
Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) are working on measures they say give governing bodies outside of DeWitt County a say.
Mitchell notes hundreds of thousands of people rely on a water source where operators of the Clinton Landfill want to store toxic substances called PCB’s just above.
Mitchell says prior decisions by the DeWitt County Board could allow the idea to proceed, as the federal EPA considers the landfill’s request.
"The crux of the bill is - the communities effected, if their water source could become contaminated, then they should have a say in it." he said.
He says their measures give the state a say in this matter, along with backing of communities like Champaign, Decatur, and Bloomington. Rose filed his bill, and Mitchell says House legislation is due soon.
A number of governments, like Champaign and Urbana, and entities like the University of Illinois and Illinois-American Water are also seeking ‘Sole Source Aquifer’ designation from the EPA.
The measure would show the federal agency the Mahomet aquifer is the primary water source for 14 counties – with hopes of blocking the PCB’s proposal.