CLINTON – Communities that rely on a large central Illinois aquifer say Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to block disposal of PCBs at the Clinton Landfill might not do enough to protect their drinking water.
Quinn’s office says the state Environmental Protection Agency will modify a permit to prohibit disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls because local landfill approval in 2002 didn’t include PCBs. A spokeswoman for the state agency, Kim Biggs, said the permit change could come within days.
“This will add an additional clause that will require a local siting process and give the chance for the opponents of the storage of chemical wastes at the landfill the chance to be heard in a public hearing,” Biggs said.
The landfill sits above the Mahomet aquifer, which provides water to 750,000 people in about a dozen counties. Many towns are worried PCBs could contaminate the aquifer.
But Normal City Manager Mark Peterson told the Decatur Herald & Review he also worries about manufactured gas plant waste – gas produced from coal, coal and oil mixtures or petroleum.
PCBs were used in industrial and commercial products but banned in 1979 because they can cause cancer and other health problems.
Clinton resident Doug Graves, one of three members of a group appointed by the DeWitt and Piatt county boards to oversee water use in the two counties, called Quinn’s intervention “a step in the right direction.”
“The problem is that the owners of the landfill wanted to store this in Peoria and they were told no, so they decided to try Clinton,” Graves said. “The problem didn’t change, just the location and so they still won’t have a place to store this.”