Task Force Meets To Discuss Mahomet Aquifer Protections
Members of the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force met in Monticello last Friday to discuss strategies to protect the Mahomet Aquifer--East Central Illinois’ primary water source--from accidental contamination.
The meeting took place a day after the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation aimed at preventing accidental contamination of the Mahomet Aquifer. The bill would require People’s Gas to pay for annual state inspections of its gas storage field, which is located above the aquifer in Champaign County.
Rick Cobb is the Deputy Manager for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Division of Drinking Water Groundwater. He provides technical assistance to the task force--and says the aquifer is vulnerable to chloride and nitrogen fertilizer contamination.
“We’ve been collecting continuous groundwater quality monitoring," said Cobb.
The task force was created in 2017 by the Illinois General Assembly to develop a state plan to maintain groundwater quality of the Mahomet Aquifer. Governor Bruce Rauner appointed members to the organization including government officials, school district representatives and environmental advocates.
“It’s been my 34-year career is trying to protect and maintain good drinking water, and good groundwater. And it’s important to everybody," said Cobb. He says a report containing recommendations for protecting the fresh water supply will be presented to Rauner and the General Assembly later this year.
The bill that passed last Thursday was in response to a December 2016 leak at a People’s Gas site – which residents weren’t notified about for months.