Natural Gas Spill Cleanup Continues

October 17, 2017
Residents father outside the Newcomb Township Hall on October 16, to hear the latest information from Spiros Law about the natural gas leak between Mahomet and Fisher.

Residents gather outside the Newcomb Township Hall on October 16, to hear the latest information from Spiros Law about the natural gas leak between Mahomet and Fisher.

Mark Schultz/Illinois Public Media

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says Peoples Gas is still working to clean up a natural gas leak in rural Champaign County. 

Peoples Gas discovered the natural gas leak at one of its gas storage wells north of Mahomet last December. The company says the gas leaked into well water for five nearby properties.

The company’s initial efforts to repair the damage were unsuccessful. And last month, the Department of Natural Resources sent Peoples Gas a Notice of Violation, giving it 30 days to repair the environmental damage.

The 30 days are up, and the DNR says Peoples Gas is not yet finished, and remains in violation, as noted in an email to the WILL newsroom.

Peoples Gas has not satisfied all the terms of the Notice of Violation (NOV).  The Department's main goal is to achieve proper remediation of the gas release.  The NOV gave Peoples 30 days to come into compliance.  This is our standard timeframe for an NOV and, depending on the situation, the Department may grant extensions of the initial time period to achieve compliance.  In response to the NOV, Peoples provided a remediation plan and asked for an extension to continue its remediation efforts.  Since the released gas is still present in the environment, Peoples' remediation efforts will be required to continue until the gas is properly remediated.  The Department will not abate the NOV until that remediation is complete. 

Peoples Gas proposes drilling four relief wells to vent the natural gas from the well water of affected property owners. It’s seeking permission from the Illinois EPA and affected homeowners, and does not have a timetable for when the work will be done, as company spokesman Brian Manthey told the WILL Newsroom.

We continue to vent gas from the area near the former natural gas well. We are also working with the Illinois EPA to obtain permits to drill four relief wells to vent the natural gas from the aquifer, and with the homeowners to obtain easements to drill the relief wells.  We do not have a time frame for when remediation will be complete. Timing will depend upon our success at placing the relief wells.
 
At this time, it is the five previously discovered private wells that have contained natural gas from the December leak.  We have provided and will continue to provide gas-water separators upon request from the homeowners affected by the leak. At this point, four of the five homeowners have accepted our offer. The other homeowner has not felt it was needed.

Story source: WILL