News Local/State

Residents Affected By Gas Leak Sue Peoples Gas

Manlove natural gas storage field.

Manlove natural gas storage field, operated by Peoples Gas, north of Mahomet. Own work/Wikipedia Commons /CC BY-SA 3.0

Peoples Gas faces another lawsuit in connection with a natural gas leak that contaminated private water wells near Mahomet.

Spiros Law of Champaign filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Champaign County Circuit Court on behalf of 17 plaintiffs. It accuses Peoples Gas of consumer fraud and negligence among its 52 counts, and seeks at least $50,000 in damages for each plaintiff, plus punitive damages.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against Peoples Gas last October, which resulted in a court order requiring the company to make certain that residents affected by the leak had safe drinking water and to find the cause of the leak.

In a news release, attorney James Spiros says that his clients “health is at issue, as are their property values." He says they “intend to hold Peoples Gas fully accountable.”

A Peoples Gas spokesman provided the following statement to Illinois Public Media on Thursday morning:

"We cannot provide any substantive comments about the lawsuit as we are just beginning our review of the complaint. What we can say is that the Illinois Department of Health has confirmed that the levels of methane we have detected in private wells do not pose a health concern. The water is safe for drinking and everyday use such as bathing and cooking. We are also offering bottled water and methane detection to affected homeowners."

Illinois lawmakers passed a pair of measures this spring that would require Peoples Gas to pay for annual government inspections of the Manlove gas field, and to quickly notify residents should leaks occur in the future. Those bills await Governor Bruce Rauner's signature.

The Manlove gas field, where Peoples Gas stores methane, sits above the Mahomet Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for more than 500,000 people in Illinois.

You can read the full complaint against Peoples Gas below.

NOTE: This story was updated at 11:50am on Thursday June 14 to clarify the amount in damages that the plaintiffs are seeking.