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Illinois landfill to appeal ban on PCBs, gas waste

Published: Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 10:07 p.m. CST

CLINTON – The owners of a central Illinois landfill that sits over a major drinking water aquifer are planning to appeal a ban on the disposal of certain types of waste at the site, saying the facility poses no health or safety threat.

Municipal officials around central Illinois have fought plans to bury PCBs at the Clinton Landfill over concerns that the Mahomet Aquifer could be contaminated, endangering a source of drinking water for more than 750,000 people in about a dozen counties.

Following Gov. Pat Quinn's intervention, state environmental officials last month blocked the plan and also forced the facility to stop accepting waste from manufactured gas plants. Both types of waste contain carcinogenic chemicals. Landfill officials maintain the facility can safely hold the chemicals.

Peoria Disposal Co. said in an email this week to The (Champaign) News-Gazette that it will appeal the decision to the Illinois Pollution Control Board before Sept. 4.

The email from Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Coulter says landfill officials were disappointed with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's action.

The company will abide by the decision "until all of the litigation is settled and resolved on this matter," he said.

The agency modified a permit to prohibit disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, because local approval of the landfill in 2002 didn't include the chemical. The now-banned industrial chemical can cause cancer and other health problems.

Local officials also worried about manufactured gas plant waste, a byproduct of producing gas from coal, and called on Quinn to also halt its disposal.

Coulter confirmed the landfill has stopped receiving that waste, while noting it had accepted such material in the past from the cleanup of industrial sites including one in downtown Clinton that is just two miles from the landfill.

"The public can be assured that the Clinton Landfill CWU poses no risk to human health, safety and welfare, as the facility is conservatively designed and operated to far exceed USEPA and IEPA modern landfill standards," he said.

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