Residents Fear Storage of Chemical Waste in Landfill Over Aquifer

"CLINTON, Ill. -- Fly over Clinton and the 266-acre landfill south of town doesn't look much different than 44 other landfills in Illinois.

But beneath its surface of inoffensive trash, the kind you put at the curb each week, are 4 trillion gallons of water used every day for public use, industry and irrigation in 15 Central Illinois counties.

And if ever the two shall meet, there could be trouble for the 750,000 people who rely on the Mahomet Aquifer, especially if Area Disposal's landfill starts accepting PCBs, a certain type of hazardous waste.

Among other organized opponents are the cities of Bloomington, Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, Normal, the Mahomet Valley Water Authority and Champaign County, which will spend more than $80,000 to prove the need for a federal "sole-source aquifer" designation that would bring more stringent protection.

Area Disposal first requested permission for the PCBs in 2007. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it needed more tests before it determined whether the Clinton Landfill can safely receive the waste."

Kenneth Lowe and Kevin Barlow report for the Decatur Herald & Review April 29, 2012.

Monday, April 30, 2012