State Sues City Of Monticello Over 2014 Sewage Discharge
The Illinois attorney general’s office has cited the city of Monticello in Piatt County, for an incident last July, where untreated sewage was pumped into the street.
The incident happened July 12th, 2014, during a storm that dropped three inches of rain on Monticello, with some of it getting into the city’s sanitary sewer system. Monticello Mayor Chris Corrie says the rainwater created the danger of diluted sewage backing up into people’s homes.
“And the city was forced to pump the storm water and sanitary material out of the sanitary line, to prevent multiple backups into residents’ homes”, said Corrie.
According to the lawsuit, the city of Monticello “pumped approximately 867,000 gallons of untreated sewage, wastewater and storm water from five manholes throughout Monticello in order to prevent sewage from backing up into residential buildings”.
The suit says the discharge took place over a seven hour period, and sent the mix of water and sewage into storm drains and drainage channels, and ultimately, into the Sangamon River, which runs through Monticello.
Corrie says that wasn’t the first time Monticello has discharged sewage into the streets and storm sewers after a heavy storm. He says improving or replacing the city’s 1930s-era wastewater treatment plant could address the problem. The city has been working on plans for some time.
Meanwhile, newly elected Alderman Joe Brown thinks the real solution lies in repairing breaks in Monticello’s sanitary sewer lines.
“When we have too much rain, the sewer lines are getting inundated with inflow from the storm water”, said Brown. “And the system builds up to where it starts to fill up people’s basements.”
Mayor Corrie disagrees, but says the city will be stepping up repairs to its sewer lines next year.
Meanwhile, state Attorney General’s spokesperson Annie Thompson says her office is engaged in talks with Monticello city officials on a possible settlement. She says the state’s goal is not the fines and court costs named in the lawsuit, but instead, a settlement that ends the city’s practice of discharging sewage after heavy rains.
“Our goal would be to reach an agreed resolution that would prevent something like this from happening again, and to make sure the city is in compliance with state laws and regulations”, said Thompson.