Coalition Takes Action to Protect Clean Water

On December 12, 2012 a coalition of agencies submitted their application to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for sole source designation for the Mahomet Aquifer. The Mahomet Aquifer provides nearly 100% of the drinking water for this region and supports thousands of commercial, industrial, and agricultural water users. Champaign Mayor Don Gerard said, “If we don’t act to protect the Aquifer now, future generations may be unable to rely on it as a source of clean water.”

A sole source designation would require review of any federally funded projects over the Aquifer to ensure that they do not pose a threat of contamination to the Aquifer. The designation would also provide an invaluable educational tool, informing the hundreds of thousands of citizens, businesses and institutions who rely on the Mahomet Aquifer for their water just how vital this unique groundwater resource is to Central Illinois.

The coalition, which includes public entities consisting of the Cities of Champaign, Urbana, Delavan, and Gilman; the Town of Normal; the Villages of Savoy, Mahomet, and Mansfield; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have applied for this designation to protect this vital source of water for hundreds of thousands of residents in central Illinois.

Review of the petition by the Region 5 office of the U.S. EPA is expected to take at least six months. During the review process, the coalition will continue to solicit public input and provide additional information to the U.S. EPA.

The petition was completed by Layne Hydro, a water management consultant hired by the coalition to confirm that the Mahomet Aquifer meets the criteria for a sole source aquifer. If the petition is successful, the Mahomet Aquifer could be the first sole source aquifer designated in Illinois.

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