CLINTON — A citizens group focused on protecting the Mahomet Aquifer from contamination will host a symposium Saturday in Clinton, featuring speakers on legal and legislative issues regarding the proposed storage of PCB waste at a landfill in Clinton.
Central Illinois mayors, legislators and Gov. Pat Quinn have been invited to the meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Vespasian Warner Public Library in Clinton. The program presented by the Mahomet Aquifer Protection Alliance is free and open to the public.
Among those expected to speak at the meeting is Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who has formed a Clinton Landfill Working Group to step up oversight of the landfill. The working group includes representatives from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, local health departments, the Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois State Geological Survey and city and county governments.
“My belief is that the discussion about the aquifer should be science-driven,” Rose told The Pantagraph on Monday. “That is why I am glad to see that experts from the Illinois state water and geological surveys are really beginning to do a lot of research and see exactly what the concerns are and how to deal with them. But science should drive this debate and it shouldn’t be political.”
According to a news release from the citizens group, speakers will be available to discuss legal and legislative initiatives to protect the aquifer, current threats to the aquifer, the hydrogeology of the aquifer and an update on the application to name the Mahomet Aquifer a sole Source aquifer by the U.S. EPA.
A report from the U.S. EPA about the landfill is also expected to be released this week, Rose said. The federal agency is considering a permit for storing waste containing polychlorinated biphenyl at the site, but opponents fear the chemical will seep into the aquifer beneath the landfill.
“DeWitt County is looking into getting some more engineering help to act as a consultant, and I definitely think that is a positive step,” he said. “We need to get the right people in the room because it is a complicated issue and there is a lot at stake. Having open, public, informational meetings though, is definitely a help as we try to learn the facts.”