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Mahomet Aquifer Hearing Draws Waste Site Foes

Wed, 14 May 2014 07:02:19 CDT
By: IPR's Sean Powers

During a public forum last night in Champaign, about 300 people urged the U-S Environmental Protection Agency to designate a major source of drinking water in the region as a sole source aquifer. The EPA is seeking public comment on the proposed designation for the Mahomet Aquifer, as a landfill looks at storing toxic chemicals above the site. As IPR's Sean Powers reports, this was the public first meeting hosted by the E-P-A on this issue:

It isn't hard to figure out how Lois Kain of Urbana feels about this issue. At last night's meeting, she was carrying around a large sign that on one side said Protect Our Mahomet Aquifer...
"...and on the other side is a map of the Aquifer and a big X over PCB's...."

That's the toxic chemical that could end up in the landfill right above the aquifer. The landfill company says a liner will protect that water from PCB's. The E-P-A designation could stop that by giving the agency the authority to review any federally funded project near the aquifer. Lois Kain says the designation is a no-brainer.
"This is our water. There is no other water here. If something were to happen to it, we'd be in a lot of trouble."

And everyone who spoke at the meeting agrees with her. More than half of residents in east-central Illinois rely on the Mahomet Aquifer for their drinking water. The E-P-A holds another public forum tonight in Morton on the sole source designation. The agency says it could make a final decision in a couple of months.

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