Legislation designed to adjust water district boundary lines that is necessary in order to extend clean drinking water to homeowner’s impacted by People’s Gas’ natural gas leak into the Mahomet Aquifer unanimously passed the Illinois Senate today, according to State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet).
“We have people who can’t drink the water in their own homes – in some cases you can, literally, light it on fire,” said Rose. “Several families are receiving bottled water thanks to a court order, but that is not a long-term solution. This legislation is a necessary perquisite to the Sangamon Valley Water District being able to legally extend water lines to these homes,” he continued.
The Mahomet Aquifer supplies drinking water to half a million homes in Eastern and Central Illinois. A few years ago, natural gas leaked into the aquifer from a People’s Gas storage site, contaminating the well water for many homes located in Champaign County.
Senate Bill 2663, sponsored by Rose, fixes an issue with water service district boundaries with the Sangamon Valley Public Water District and the Village of Mahomet – the impacted homes will now be within Sangamon Valley’s jurisdiction.
“The Village of Mahomet appreciates the continued efforts by Senator Chapin Rose in finding meaningful solutions for those impacted by the natural gas leak north of Mahomet,” said Mahomet Village President Sean Widener. “We also want to thank Sangamon Valley Public Water District for their partnership and extending help to rural Mahomet residents.”
“It’s awesome that we’re getting this done for the people affected by the gas leak. It’s our job to provide clean water, and we’re happy to work with Senator Rose to move this forward,” said Kerry Gifford, General Manager of Sangamon Valley Public Water District.
Rose previously secured funding in last year’s capital bill to begin phase 1 construction of the water line extension – this legislation is necessary for the Sangamon Valley Water District to utilize those dollars. However, the choice to actually spend the money and solve the problem remains with Governor Pritzker, who will, ultimately, have to authorize the spending and issue the checks.
“I want to thank the Mayor Widener, Kerry Gifford, and the Sangamon Valley Board members, who came together to agree on these boundary lines, so that we now have a single agency that will be able to move this project forward quickly if the Gov. releases the funds. I know that the Mayor Widener, Kerry, and the Board at Sangamon Valley all agree that getting these folks clean drinking water is absolutely the right thing to do – it is too bad that People’s Gas has so far refused to clean up the mess it created. I will also, note, that while I’m proud to have secured the funding for Phase 1 – this is not the taxpayer’s mess to clean up – it belongs to People’s Gas and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul should stop playing patty cake with these polluters and force them in Court to pony up the funds necessary to make get these good people clean water!”