Durbin and Kirk Express Strong Concern About Disposal of Toxic Chemicals in Clinton Landfill

[CLINTON, IL] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) will send a letter today to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman expressing their strong concern about the proposed industrial waste facility at Clinton Landfill, Durbin announced at a news conference at Clinton City Hall.


“With our letter, we’re letting the EPA know the importance of protecting the Mahomet Valley Aquifer and commending the decision to further evaluate the safety of disposing PCBs at Clinton Landfill,” said Durbin.  “Dumping toxic chemicals, like PCBs, in a landfill directly above the aquifer is potentially disastrous.  In the event of a leak, the primary source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people across central Illinois could be permanently damaged.  That’s a risk we do not need to take.”   


“It is critical to protect the hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents who rely on the Mahomet Aquifer for safe drinking water,” said Andrew Flach, a spokesperson for Kirk. “The EPA must take the additional time to thoroughly review the hydrology of the proposed site and evaluate the potential risk of the landfill to the community and surrounding areas.”


Immediately prior to the news conference, Durbin and Randy Pollard, an aide to Sen. Kirk, met with mayors and representatives from Champaign, Urbana, Bloomington, Normal, Savoy, and Champaign County.  They pledged to work together to ensure that the aquifer continues to provide clean drinking water to central Illinois for generations to come.


The Mahomet Valley Aquifer spans 15 counties in central Illinois, provides drinking water to more than 850,000 people, and sits beneath the Clinton Landfill.  Peoria Disposal wants to convert 23 acres of Clinton Landfill No. 3 to an industrial waste facility, where it would dispose of chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  PCBs are a known carcinogen and are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act.  Peoria Disposal must obtain approval from U.S. EPA before it begins to dispose of PCBs at Clinton Landfill. 


In 2008, Durbin and then-Senator Obama expressed their concerns about the disposal of PCBs to U.S. EPA.   In March, U.S. EPA finished its initial review of public comments on PCB disposal.  Based on that review, U.S. EPA has decided that further evaluation of the site’s hydrology will be necessary. 


The letter to EPA Region 5 is below.