News Local/State

Quinn, IEPA Say County Records Can Block Plan For PCB’s


Governor Pat Quinn says he’s taken further action to block the placement of PCB’s at the Clinton Landfill, over the Mahomet Aquifer. 

He’s asked the state EPA to contact the DeWitt County Board seeking to confirm that federally regulated concentrations of the toxic substances were never locally authorized.  

Residents of the area and local officials are questioning the extent of the county board siting approval in 2002.

A press release Tuesday morning cites transcripts of a public hearing that year, in which the owners of the landfill, Peoria Disposal, testified to the county board that the landfill would not accept PCB’s at federally regulated concentrations. 

Illinois’ EPA says information from that meeting calls into question the county board’s siting approval. 

"The Illinois EPA's regulatory decisions must include all information and facts and must be completed in a process that is transparent and allows for community involvement and input," IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett said, in a press release.  "The landfill permit decision may not have included full disclosure of facts relating to the 2002 location decision."

State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) says Governor Pat Quinn should already have the required information to block the PCB's proposal.

He said Quinn only needs to refer to past legal efforts to fight the plan, a lawsuit filed by the WATCH Clinton Landfill group.

“This is the exact subject matter of the lawsuit," he said.  "And so that would have been disclosed to Gov. Quinn during the lawsuit that he’s defended these guys on, and for him to now say ‘well I need these records, so I can revoke the permit.’  No – just revoke the permit. You’ve got what you need, if this is what you believe, just revoke it.”

Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) said it doesn’t matter how long it’s taken to find this solution, as long as officials find a way to protect a source of drinking water.

DeWitt County Board member George Wissmiller, a longtime opponent of the PCB's proposal, called this plan the strongest legal route to blocking the PCB's proposal.

Wissmiller said the county board could pass a resolution by early next month to block Peoria Disposal's plan, unless an emergency meeting is called by Board Chair Sherrie Brown. But he said there's more to be done.

"This (letter) only addresses the PCB's," Wissmiller said.  "We have an issue with MGP's (waste from a manufactured gas plant site at 5th and Hill Streets in Champaign) being dumped out there (at the landfill) which is not being addressed by this letter at all.  I'm overjoyed at this letter, but I'm concerned that it's not really addressing the entire problem."

Many officials, including state lawmakers, US Senator Dick Durbin, and a number of area mayors, have publicly opposed the proposal to place PCB’s over the aquifer.