Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) needs your help and support to protect drinking water in Central Illinois from toxic contamination. As unbelievable and irresponsible as it seems, drinking water for more than 750,000 residents in 14 counties in Central Illinois is under threat of contamination from toxic chemicals because of the greed of a single corporation – PDC/AREA Disposal, which owns the Clinton Landfill and its toxic waste dump, which sits above the Mahomet Aquifer.
Recently, thanks in large part to citizen involvement and local government action, there have been important victories in the effort to protect the Mahomet Aquifer from chemical waste at the Clinton Landfill. But the victories are temporary stays, and more action is needed to create a permanent solution to protect our Aquifer.
Despite our recent victories to halt toxic chemical dumping at the Landfill, the owners of the Clinton Landfill are still planning to fight for, and seek the necessary permits to allow dumping of Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) waste and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste, and other toxic chemical wastes in their Landfill. And the decision to issue these permits starts with the DeWitt County Board – unless we can create a state solution to permanently protect our Aquifer.
Central Illinois residents must continue to fight to protect the Mahomet Aquifer from irreversible contamination from toxic chemicals allowed in the Clinton Landfill’s toxic waste dump.
The effort to permanently protect the Mahomet Aquifer will have to take place on several fronts – from pressuring the DeWitt County Board, to pressuring the Governor, state legislators, and state agencies to do the right thing.
About the Mahomet Aquifer
The Mahomet Aquifer is an ancient underground repository of pure water that lies below the fields of Central Illinois. The aquifer was formed at the end of the last Ice Age when the retreating glacial formations began to melt, depositing large amounts of sand, gravel, and water in a large valley formation called the Mahomet Bedrock Valley. Over 120 communities in 14 counties rely on the Mahomet Aquifer’s water for their drinking, cleaning, agricultural, and industrial needs. About 750,000 people use an average of 57 million gallons of aquifer water per day, just for drinking alone.
PDC/AREA Disposal Company’s Clinton Landfill and its “Chemical Waste” dump
Peoria Disposal Company (PDC)/AREA Disposal owns the Clinton Landfill, located just outside of Clinton, IL in DeWitt County. The Landfill sits immediately above the Mahomet Aquifer. The landfill has historically stored municipal and household waste collected by local waste haulers (including PDC/AREA Disposal Company).
In 2007, Clinton Landfill sought a special permit from the IL EPA to receive “Chemical Waste” at its Clinton Landfill #3. In a series of moves that many allege violated the law and were done improperly, Clinton Landfill obtained local siting approval from the DeWitt County Board to operate a chemical waste landfill, and then obtained approval from the IL EPA to allow the disposal of MGP waste and PCBs at their Chemical Waste landfill. Until this past August, the Clinton Landfill had been receiving MGP waste since 2011, but had been awaiting final approval from the US EPA to receive PCB waste. The U.S. EPA had granted draft approval to Clinton Landfill for toxic PCB waste in 2011, but, thankfully, because of citizen and local government actions, had not finalized the permit for PCBs.
Now, recent actions by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IL EPA) have resulted in temporary bans to the dumping of MGP and PCB waste.
Recent victories result in temporary halt to dumping of toxic waste at Clinton Landfill
A chain-reaction of important victories in the effort to prevent toxic waste from being dumped at the Clinton Landfill took place this July and August, as a result of actions by citizens and local governments who called on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to take action.
Here is a summary of the victories:
- Gov. Quinn and IL EPA rescind the permit for PCBs at Clinton Landfill;
- Gov. Quinn and IL EPA rescind the permit for MGPs at Clinton Landfill and call for immediate halt in dumping anymore MGP waste;
- US EPA says that it will not consider Clinton Landfill’s permit for PCBs, given the actions by the IL EPA.
But these victories – as important as they are – are temporary, and the Clinton Landfill owners plan to continue to pursue the necessary permits to allow dumping of toxic Chemical Waste. In fact, Clinton Landfill currently retains the permit and designation to receive Chemical Waste – it simply lacks the permits for the specific MGP and PCB wastes. This must be changed.
Why more action is needed
Currently, IL law does not prohibit the creation of these landfills above our aquifers. In fact, the law is written in such a way that the Clinton Landfill owners simply have to go back to the DeWitt County Board to seek proper approval for siting this Chemical Waste landfill.
In other words, unless Illinois state law is changed, the decision about whether a Chemical Waste landfill can exist above the Mahomet Aquifer comes down to the decisions made by a local unit of government – the DeWitt County Board.
We CAN win this fight to protect our Aquifer, and you can help – take action now!
We have to work on all fronts to protect the Mahomet Aquifer. You can help by taking these actions:
1) Add your name to the petition calling on the DeWitt County Board to deny Clinton Landfill’s next application for a siting permit to receive chemical wastes like MGPs and PCBs. The DeWitt County Board is stacked with Landfill supporters and needs to hear from as many Central Illinois residents as possible that their local actions can irreversibly affect an entire region of the state, for generations to come.
2) Add your name to the petition calling on Governor Quinn to fully rescind Clinton Landfill’s permit for “Chemical Waste.” While Gov. Quinn’s actions in July and August were of paramount importance, his actions simply resulted in not allowing the specific MGP and PCB forms of Chemical Waste, but did nothing to rescind Clinton Landfill’s permit for Chemical Waste.
3) Add your name to the petition calling on state lawmakers to create a state law to permanently protect the Mahomet Aquifer. There ought to be a state law that protects the drinking water for an entire region of the state!
4) Join or support the boycott of AREA Disposal, the company that owns Clinton Landfill. CCHCC and the members of the multi-county coalition that are working together to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, are calling for a boycott of AREA Disposal. If AREA Disposal (PDC/AREA) is your garbage hauler, please consider changing hauling companies. CCHCC can provide you with information about alternative haulers.
5) Help spread the word. Share our information and use e-mail and social media to help inform your contacts. Get your bumper stickers to help create awareness!
There is no greater environmental or public health threat facing Central Illinois than the possible toxic contamination of the Mahomet Aquifer. To take action to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, please visit CCHCC’s website at http://www.healthcareconsumers.org/ or contact CCHCC by phone at (217) 352-6533 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.