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Champaign Joins Consortium Against EPA Over PCB’s in Clinton Landfill

Champaign Joins Consortium Against EPA Over PCB's in Clinton Landfill

The city of Champaign has joined possible legal action against the U-S Environmental Protection Agency regarding a plan for the storage of toxic substances.

Local governments are waiting to see whether the agency grants the disposal of PCB's in the Clinton Landfill. On Tuesday night, Champaign's city council unanimously agreed to join the intergovernmental agreement with Urbana and Normal that would hire private counsel to fight the plan, out of concern for the Mahomet Aquifer.

Savoy's Village Board votes on the plan Wednesday night, and Champaign City Manager Steve Carter says he expects Bloomington, Decatur and smaller towns to join the consortium by January.

If the EPA grants the request, the governments would also split up legal costs. But Champaign Assistant City Attorney Joe Hooker says the federal government has final authority under the toxic substances control act. He says PCB's are a known carcinogen and a hazard.

"There's a lot of concern given how persistent, or how long, it takes for PCB's to break down, which is forever," said Hooker. "You know, there's real skepticism that even using cutting edge technology, that you could adequately protect the aquifer."

Hooker says it's hard to say how soon the EPA will rule on the matter, but a city report says the decision could come anytime. The public comment period on the Clinton Landfill proposal ended in August.

Hooker says the defense is lining up its list of experts, including George Roadcap with Illinois State Water Survey, who Hooker calls the leading authority on how the Aquifer works.

"I know he's very concerned about the way that the geology and hydrology has been characterized by the applicant," he said. "There is a consultant who was hired by the Mahomet Valley Water Authority who weighed in with a long list of concerns."

Champaign City Council member Marci Dodds called support for the issue 'crucial.