News Local/State

Urbana, Forsyth Approve Clinton Landfill Consent Decree


Urbana and the Decatur suburb of Forsyth are the latest communities to sign on to a proposed consent decree with the Clinton Landfill.

Urbana City Council members voted unanimously Monday night in favor of the decree.

Meanwhile in Forsyth, the village board approved the agreement on a vote of 4 to 3. Accordng to village administrator David Strohl, Mayor Marilyn Johnson broke a 3-3 tie on the village board with her 'yes' vote.

So far, ten local governments in the 14-member Mahomet Aquifer Coalition have endorsed the consent decree. They are the Champaign, Urbana, Tuscola, Monticello, Bloomington and Decatur City Councils, the Normal Town Council, the Forsyth Village Board and the Piatt and McLean County Boards.

The Savoy Village Board is scheduled to continue its discussion of the consent decree on Wednesday, September 23rd. The Champaign and Macon County Boards and the Mahomet Valley Water Authority have yet to take action.

Under terms of the consent decree, the coalition would drop a lawsuit seeking to bring the hazardous waste portion of the Clinton Landfill back before the DeWitt County Board for consideration. It would also allow manufactured gas plant waste already collected at the landfill to stay there, although with extra safeguards. In return, the Clinton Landfill would abandon efforts to take in any more gas plant waste or PCB waste anywhere in DeWitt County that’s over the Mahomet Aquifer.

Opponents of the consent decree say the coalition should not give up its ability to file future lawsuits, including efforts to force the Clinton Landfill to remove the gas plant waste it’s already collected.

Officials with the city of Champaign, which has taken the lead in the coalition's legal efforts, wrote in a memo to their city council that the consent decree would "eliminate the possibility, however remote and unlkely" of getting a court to order the Clinton Landfill to remove the manufactured gas plant waste it presently stores.

But Champaign spokesman Jeff Hamilton says the coalition members could still sue the Clinton Landfill on other matters, and that anyone else was free to go to court over the MGP waste.

((This article was updated 9/22/15 2:355 PM)