Community fights proposed toxic landfill on water source

By Beau Ebenezer

February 12, 2014 Updated Feb 13, 2014 at 12:15 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- The water supply for nearly one-million Central Illinois residents could be tainted.

That's if chemical waste is allowed to be stored above a major source of drinking water.

The Peoria Disposal Company (PDC) is seeking approval to operate a toxic chemical landfill site in Clinton that sits directly above the Mahomet Aquifer.

This aquifer runs through Central Illinois providing water for residents living in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, and Clinton.

"I want a say-so if they are going to possibly contaminate my water source," said Normal resident, Charles Kunkel. "I would like a say in it. What's it going to cost me if it goes bad?"

Kunkel drinks a few glasses of tap water out of his sink every day.

But he said if there's a chance of contamination, he would consider leaving the area.

That's why the Town of Normal is hoping to make their residents aware of possible contamination in the future.

Four wells in Normal are directly connected to the Mahomet Aquifer.

Town officials said if one of these wells becomes contaminated, the entire community would be affected.

State environmental agencies already approved several steps to allow dumping in the landfill.

But Normal City Manager, Mark Peterson said they have appealed the process because of potential risk.

"There are so many things that could happen," said Peterson. "An earth tremor or an earthquake could provide a void in the soil. All of sudden, we could have a direct line between that chemical waste facility and the aquifer."

Peterson added that the aquifer supplies more than half of the town's water.

Contamination could hurt agriculture along with halting new residential developments.

It is still unknown when or if the disposal company will be allowed to dump chemical waste at the location.

PDC would not comment on the matter.