MONTICELLO — An attorney for the village of Summit pleaded with Illinois lawmakers to do something about "the landfill, pile, mountain, whatever you want to call it" of PCB-contaminated waste that sits in the southwest suburban village.
Jeffrey Jeep, a Chicago-area environmental lawyer, said he came to an Illinois House hearing in Monticello at the request of Summit Mayor Joseph Strzleczek. The hearing of the Environmental Health Committee had been called to review HB 6152, which as originally drafted would ban the disposal of material containing waste at a landfill that is less than 500 feet above an aquifer that provides the only source of drinking water for a community. The legislation was introduced as a response to plans to dump PCB waste at the Clinton Landfill.
Jeep said an auto-shredding business operated in Summit from 1957 to 1999 and then went bankrupt, "leaving this pile for Mayor Strzleczek to deal with. The U.S. EPA has found that this is an imminent endangerment to the people of Summit."
"A couple of years from now we're talking about people breathing dust that is contaminated with PCBs and lead, going into apartment buildings a quarter of a mile away and people coming out of their apartments and finding hazardous dust on their cars, dust that their children are breathing, that their children's bicycles are contaminated with."
Jeep said the abandoned auto-shredding business contains an estimated 300,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated waste.
"For 10 years I've been trying to find a solution to this problem," Jeep said. "Trust me, I've talked to incinerator operators, I've gone to Detroit to try to price out the disposal of this material. It can't be done. The U.S. EPA doesn't have the money to deal with it. And we need a solution to this problem. We can't take it to Detroit."
A landfill in Clinton for PCB products, Jeep said, would help create competition and lower the cost of PCB disposal at a Detroit-area landfill, currently the only facility in the Midwest taking such debris.
"And we'll be dealing with the transportation costs, which are huge," Jeep said. "Talk to your other mayors. Talk to the mayor of Waukegan. He can tell you firsthand what he is dealing with.
"Please base this on science and the law. Let's consider the other people in this state that are confronted with very real environmental problems that require a solution."