Frerichs: IL EPA in ‘Right Direction’ with Landfill Oversight
By Jeff Bossert
Senator Mike Frerichs says legislators and environmental officials are taking some positive first steps towards oversight of the Clinton Landfill, and protecting the area’s drinking water.
Frerichs (D-Champaign) and Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) met with state EPA officials this week regarding the request from the landfill’s owners to place toxic substances called PCB’s over the Mahomet Aquifer.
Illinois EPA spokesman Andrew Mason says after the meeting with EPA director Lisa Bonnett, she did agree to independently test and analyze groundwater samples from the landfill’s monitoring wells, and step up inspections from once every quarter to once every other month.
Meanwhile, Frerichs said legislative efforts to protect the aquifer will continue.
"We’ve gotten some pushback from people in Chicago who really want to dump their PCB’s in downstate Illinois," he said. "We’re continuing to work that way, exploring all avenues. Whether that would be legislative remedies, or working with the state EPA, or hopefully we’ll get some good results out of the U.S. EPA.”
Landfill opponent and DeWitt County Board member George Wissmiller said he's skeptical.
"I think the Illinois EPA does is probably two-faced," said Wissmiller, who said the additional testing does nothing for the PCB's proposal. "It doesn't increase or decrease the likelihood of the PCB dumping. They're two completely and totally unrelated issues."
More than 15 communities, including Champaign, Urbana, and Normal, have gone on record opposing the request before the federal EPA.
They’re part of a petition asking the federal agency to recognize the Mahomet Aquifer as a ‘Sole Source Aquifer, or the only water sources to 14 counties. Frerichs said he hasn’t heard anything new from federal officials on that request.