Citizens fight for a safe water supply

By Audrey Wise

February 22, 2014 Updated Feb 23, 2014 at 12:04 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill -- Citizens are coming together to keep one of their basic sources of life safe.

Close to one million people get their drinking water from the Mahomet Aquifer. That includes residents in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, Clinton and 80 municipalities in McLean County.

Peoria Disposal Company (PDC) is seeking federal approval to operate a toxic chemical waste storage facility at its Clinton Landfill site, located right over the aquifer.

About 100 residents and elected officials came together Saturday to learn about the issues and what they can do to stop PDC.

The meeting focused on potential health hazards, legal issues, and what residents can do to get involved.

Some in attendance say contamination of the water supply with highly toxic chemicals would be catastrophic.

"The fact that there's a plastic liner or there's clay in the soil doesn't guarantee that there would not be a spill and the risk is just too great," said Steven Carter, member of the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance.

Joyce Blumenshine, member of the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club said, "The thought that we would allow this with all the information that we know about the health impacts, the cancers, the problems with PCBs and what it can do to people is unbelievable. This should not be allowed."

Some citizens believe it is an uphill fight, but one that's worth it.

The U.S. and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have not made a decision on the matter.

PDC could not be reached for comment.