Firm outlines aquifer criteria

Firm outlines aquifer criteria

SAVOY — Representatives from Layne Christensen Co., a global water management company, spoke to the Savoy village board this week about the likelihood of the Mahomet Aquifer being designated a sole-source aquifer and how it will affect the proposed disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at the Clinton Landfill.

According to Allen Wehrmann from Layne Christensen, there are two criteria that must be met for the Mahomet Aquifer to be a sole-source aquifer. It must supply at least 50 percent of the water within the aquifer's service area, and the volume of water from alternative sources must be insufficient - for volume, economic or legal reasons - to replace the aquifer if it were contaminated.

Wehrmann indicated the Mahomet Aquifer area "easily qualifies" for the first rule. The Mahomet Aquifer serves 120 communities with water, including over 80 municipalities and over 700,000 people.

Wehrmann said there is a good chance the Mahomet Aquifer would also meet the second qualification, citing constraints such as inadequate alternative supply in various communities, as well as the economic limitations of building new water treatment plants in many communities.

"I cannot say this enough, without the Mahomet (Aquifer) we're sunk," Wehrmann said. "This is our water supply. We don't have another water supply to go to. We need this designation."

Wehrmann also explained the sole-source aquifer designation is limited in the impact it will have on the Clinton Landfill. A sole-source aquifer only requires review for projects that are federally funded, which the Clinton Landfill is not. However, the designation does put tighter restrictions on the area from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which may affect the landfill.

Wehrmann and the Layne Christensen Co. are trying to get as many communities as possible behind the effort to designate the Mahomet Aquifer a sole source aquifer. There are currently seven communities supporting the effort, including Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, the University of Illinois, Normal, Mansfield and Delavan. Layne Christensen has sent out letters to every community mayor and county chairman, within the boundaries of the aquifer, seeking support.

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