Local Governments Oppose Hazardous Waste at Clinton Landfill

A coalition of local governments, including the Cities of Champaign, Urbana, Bloomington, and Decatur; the Town of Normal; the Village of Savoy; Champaign and Piatt Counties; and
the Mahomet Valley Water Authority, are filing a complaint today before the Illinois Pollution Control Board alleging that a chemical waste unit is being unlawfully operated by Clinton
Landfill, Inc., at its landfill facility located outside of Clinton, Illinois. The coalition members are represented in this legal complaint by David Wentworth II of the Peoria, Illinois law firm of Hasselberg, Williams, Grebe, Snodgrass & Birdsall, and Attorney Albert Ettinger of Chicago, Illinois. The Complaint claims that the company failed to obtain local approval by the DeWitt County Board as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Act for a new pollution control facility. The coalition believes the health and economy of the region are at risk by the illegal operation of this facility.

The Clinton landfill facility is located directly over the Mahomet Aquifer, a large groundwater resource that spans most of Central Illinois and provides water for more than 88 communities and hundreds of thousands of citizens in the region. The chemical waste unit is already accepting waste containing hazardous materials that exceed acceptable levels for a municipal waste landfill. Clinton Landfill, Inc. also has a pending application with the U.S. EPA seeking permission to dispose of waste containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls, commonly known as PCBs, at concentrations that are regulated by the Federal Toxic Substances Control Act. In 1979, the U.S. EPA banned the manufacture of PCBs because of their harmful effects on the environment and human health. PCBs are a suspected carcinogen in humans and known to persist in their toxic state for decades once released to the environment.

“The operation of this chemical waste unit poses an unreasonable risk of contamination to the Aquifer,” said City of Champaign Mayor Don Gerard. “The economic consequences of
contamination of the Aquifer would be devastating to the region. There are many locations in Illinois where such a chemical waste unit could be placed without posing a threat to a valuable groundwater resource, including areas within DeWitt County that are not over the Aquifer.”

“The company received approval from DeWitt County for a very different facility than what it is now operating and plans to operate, and actually proposed to DeWitt County that PCBs would not be placed in the landfill.” said Mayor Gerard.

The goal of this Complaint before the Illinois Pollution Control Board is to force Clinton Landfill, Inc. to follow State law and submit this chemical waste unit to the public scrutiny and analysis it deserves before the DeWitt County Board. Only then can the risks posed by this facility to the Mahomet Aquifer and the public health in general be properly evaluated.

For more information, please visit www.ci.champaign.il.us/aquifer.