Illinois Senate Passes Bill Aimed At Protecting Mahomet Aquifer

State Senator Chapin Rose.

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) outlines his legislative proposals at a community meeting on the Mahomet Aquifer at the Champaign Public Library on Sept. 19th.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

The Illinois Senate passed a revised bill on May 24, after earlier measures stalled in the House. The bill aims to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, east central Illinois’ primary water source, from underground natural gas leaks.

The new bill stems from a December 2016 gas leak from the People’s Gas storage field in Champaign County, which is located above the Mahomet Aquifer. However, many residents and government officials weren't informed about the leak for several months.

State Senator Chapin Rose sponsored the bill, which would require that People's Gas quickly notify nearby residents and businesses of any gas leaks at its gas storage field.

“Half a million Illinoisans rely on the Mahomet Aquifer every day for their drinking water," said Rose. The bill would also require People's Gas to pay for annual inspections of its gas storage field conducted by the state.

“This is our livelihood, this is what makes our communities wonderful. Having access to a clean supply of water is incredibly important to the entire Central Illinois region," said Rose. 

The Republican from Mahomet said he hopes the revised bill--House Bill 4746--will pass in the house, before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the summer on May 31.

Story source: WILL