U.S. EPA seeks public comment on Mahomet Aquifer designation

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed approval of a petition to designate a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer system in east-central Illinois as a sole-source aquifer. EPA’s public comment period on the proposed designation closes June 12.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA authority to designate an aquifer as a sole or principal source of drinking water for a specified area. That designation allows EPA to review all federally funded projects within the designated area to ensure they will not contaminate the aquifer.

The Mahomet Aquifer system is an underground layer of water-bearing sand and gravel that fills a bedrock valley in all or parts of 14 east-central Illinois counties. The aquifer system is the source of approximately 53 million gallons of water every year for 120 public water systems and thousands of rural wells that serve about a half million people. More than half of the population in east-central Illinois relies on the Mahomet Aquifer system as a source of drinking water.

EPA will hold two public hearings — at 7:30 p.m., May 13, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., Champaign, Ill.; and at 7:30 p.m., May 14, at the Best Western Ashland House, 201 E. Ashland St., Morton, Ill. Oral and written comments will be accepted at both hearings. Informational sessions in advance of the public hearings will run from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on both evenings.

Draft documents and information about the public hearings are available on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/region5/water/gwdw/mahomet/index.htm. Documents are also available at Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Champaign, Ill.; Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington, Ill.; Pekin Public Library, 301 S. Fourth St., Pekin, Ill.; Havana Public Library, 201 W. Adams St., Havana, Ill.; Watseka Public Library, 201 S. Fourth St., Watseka, Ill.; and U.S. EPA’s Region 5 Office, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago.

Comments should be addressed to William Spaulding, U.S. EPA (WG-15J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604-3590 or spaulding.william@epa.gov. For questions or additional information, William Spaulding at (312) 886-9262, or EPA’s toll-free line at 800-621-8431, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (weekdays).

Posted May 7, 2014

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