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Village Vision News

Citizen, board discuss landfill’s possible toxic waste dump near aquifer

Thursday, May 29, 2014

As has been widely reported by news media around Central Illinois, the Clinton Landfill in DeWitt County is seeking a permit to dump toxic waste on land that sits above the Mahomet Aquifer.

According to the Illinois State Water Survey, the aquifer is “a major groundwater resource” for a large portion of the region. That means communities and industries in 14 counties rely on the aquifer as a water supply.

The aquifer is massive, stretching from the Illinois-Indiana border near Danville west across the middle of the state to the edge of Tazewell County near Peoria. The landfill sits just a few minutes’ drive up the road and less than 15 miles from Forsyth.

The concern for citizens and public officials is the potential for polychlorinated biphenyl waste, or PCBs, finding their way into the water supply. Estimates range from 500,000 to upwards of 850,000 people who rely on the aquifer as their main source for safe drinking water.

From citizen-led groups to local governments on up to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, a move is afoot to fight the federal permit, which would need to be allowed by the U.S. Environmental Agency.

Forsyth resident Joe Dugger spoke to trustees at the May 5 board meeting, asking the mayor and the board what the village’s official stance is on the matter.

Dugger said he felt the “subject is under the radar,” and he wanted to know what residents could do to get involved in a joint effort to try to fight this potentially serious problem.

Trustees Bob Gruenewald and Bob Rasho both said that they had attended one of the area summits recently held in Clinton on the matter. Gruenewald said he shared Dugger’s concern, and he suggested that village staff look further into the issue “and provide a recommendation to the board to consider.”

Mayor Marilyn Johnson said that she, too, understood Dugger’s concerns and the importance of the issue. She agreed the village needed to have further discussions on the topic.

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