CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that his administration has taken action to stop the disposal of manufactured gas plant (MGP) waste at the Clinton Landfill. This follows Monday’s announcement that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) had taken action to keep PCB waste out of the Clinton Landfill and protect the drinking water of 800,000 residents.
“PCBs and Manufactured Gas Plant wastes simply do not belong near our drinking water supplies,” Governor Quinn said. “We listened to public concerns, and today’s action highlights the state’s commitment to protecting this essential drinking water source.”
MGP waste that exceeded certain toxicity levels had been allowed at the Chemical Waste Unit at the Clinton Landfill, the only location in Illinois where such disposal was permitted. Today’s action means that MGP waste that exceeds toxic limits may no longer being disposed of at any Illinois landfill. The landfill permit modification process that allowed IEPA earlier this week to block PCB waste at Clinton also allows the agency to block MGP wastes.
Manufactured gas was made primarily during the 19th and early 20th centuries from coal. During the gas manufacture process, tars were created and leaked, spilled or discharged into the environment. These do not degrade, and are made up of many toxic compounds, including ammonia, cyanide, sulfur and heavy metals such as arsenic. The tars are also heavier than water and tend to sink into the ground, where they can contaminate ground water. The MGP wastes that need disposal today are from the soil at former manufactured gas plant sites that are being cleaned up.
The modified permit has been posted to the IEPA webpage developed to provide residents with updated information on Clinton Landfill 3: (http://www.epa.state.il.us/community-relations/fact-sheets/clinton-3/index.html). Peoria Disposal Company, which operates the landfill, will have 45 days to appeal the permit modification through the Illinois Pollution Control Board. The Board may stay the permit modification until a decision on the appeal is issued.
Today’s action by the Illinois EPA follows efforts by the Governor and other state officials to protect the Mahomet Aquifer. The Aquifer is a system of river basins and ground waters that supplies water to portions of Cass, Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Iroquois, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Peoria, Piatt, Tazewell, Vermilion and Woodford Counties. More than 100 million gallons of water, serving approximately 850,000 residents, is provided from the Mahomet Aquifer daily.