Mahomet ‘Sole Source’ Aquifer Petition Process Underway
By Jeff Bossert
Local mayors are moving forward with their pledge to protect the Mahomet Aquifer’s water supply.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing launched the ‘Sole Source Aquifer’ application process Monday.
The petition formally asks the US EPA to recognize the Mahomet Aquifer is the only water source to 14 counties. After that designation, the agency can ask for changes like the Clinton Landfill’s request to store toxic chemicals called PCB’s over the water supply.
Groundwater hydrologist Al Whermann of Layne Hydro has been hired to prepare the application, noting the aquifer provides 100-percent of drinking water to 14 counties.
“There really is no other available supply that has the kind of adequacy the Mahomet Aquifer does. And certainly, if there some additional supply so from the Illinois River – it becomes economically unviable, so really, for all intents and purposes, the Mahomet Aquifer is it, and if we were to lose it, the region would definite trouble, have no other place to go to.”
Gerard says this application process is an intervention where government is crucial, but admits it’s tall order nowadays.
“In a climate to where there’s a lot of knee-jerk reaction against government in creating a new ordinance body, a new layer of government," he said. "It’s difficult for us to get as legislators, but I personally, I’m passionate about it, and I think that this is something that – if I have any political capital whatsoever, I’m more than willing to spend every bit I have, because it’s something that’s so very important to us.”
The application process is expected to take six months, but Wehrmann says there’s no telling when the request for PCB’s could be approved by the federal EPA. The state EPA has already approved the request.
Champaign and Urbana are making their request with the Town of Normal, the Village of Savoy, and University of Illinois.
The EPA petition will cost the entities about $60-thousand.