Legislation reopens electronic recycling

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Brian Younker hopes to reopen Orland Township’s drop-off recycling center as soon as Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a bill that boosts the amount of electronics that manufacturers are required to pay to recycle each year.

The legislature averted a recycling crisis by the House and Senate each unanimously passing House Bill 1455 in mid-May. It increases by about 13 million pounds what the manufacturing companies must pay for during the next three years — a short-term fix that’s expected to get recycling centers to take electronics again.

Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Via the Prairie Research Institute’s News from the Library blog.

The Natural and Cultural Resources Master Plan for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, produced by the Prairie Research Institute, provides data-driven guidance to theForest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) — which celebrated their 100th anniversary in February–for managing preserves in the coming century.  The FPCC manages >69,000 acres preserving diverse ecosystems and archaeological sites enjoyed by millions every year.

An Updated Look at PCBs

Download the document.

At the request of a bi-partisan group of legislators, the University of Illinois was asked to undertake a review of how polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soils and other wastes are managed in Illinois. Their main concern was a proposal to deposit PCB wastes in an expanded section of a landfill near Clinton, Illinois. The legislators that asked for this report thought it would be helpful to undertake a review of current practices in Illinois, look at how other governments handle these wastes, and review current research on PCBs including alternative waste-management technologies.

This report includes a summary and recommendations about PCB disposal, a review of how PCBs are a persistent pollutant, and a literature review of remediation technologies of PCBs and manufactured-gas-plant wastes.

 

New campus recycling bins aim to bring waste awareness

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

In an effort to make campus more eco-friendly and closer to a zero-waste initiative, 20 new recycling bins with standardized signage were installed on the Quad this month, making 30 total recycling/landfill stations.

The project was completed by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC). According to the project’s leader Bart Bartels, technical assistance engineer at ISTC, the center makes recommendations and completes projects aiming to reduce waste emissions on campus.

This zero-waste initiative is part of the goal of the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the University’s mission to make campus carbon neutral by 2050.

DeWitt board, Clinton Landfill owners reach deal barring PCBs

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

Ending a 7-year-long dispute, the DeWitt County Board on Thursday night voted to approve a settlement agreement with the owners of Clinton Landfill that keeps PCBs and manufactured-gas-plant wastes out of the landfill.

The landfill sits over the Mahomet Aquifer, which is the water source for Champaign-Urbana and about 800,000 central Illinois residents.

EPA Designates Mahomet Aquifer as “Sole Source” of Drinking Water in East-Central Illinois

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a decision to designate a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer system as a sole source aquifer. More than half of the population in east-central Illinois relies on the Mahomet Aquifer system as a source of drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA authority to designate all or part of an aquifer as a “sole source” if contamination of the aquifer would create a significant hazard to public health and there are no physically available or economically feasible alternative sources of drinking water to serve the population that relies on the aquifer. The designation authorizes EPA review of projects that receive Federal financial assistance to assess potential for contamination of the aquifer system that would create a significant hazard to public health.

The Mahomet Aquifer system is an underground layer of water-bearing sand and gravel that fills a wide bedrock valley in an area that includes 14 east-central Illinois counties. The aquifer system provides about 58 million gallons of drinking water each day for 120 public water systems and thousands of rural wells that serve about a half million people in Illinois.

EPA’s public comment period on the designation began on March 13, 2014, and closed on June 12, 2014. EPA held public hearings on May 13 in Champaign and on May 14 in Morton. Following a review of public comments, EPA prepared a Responsiveness Summary which addresses comments and answers questions. The decision goes into effect when it is published in the Federal Register.

The Responsiveness Summary and other relevant documents will be available to the public at EPA’s regional office, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago; Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Champaign; Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington; Pekin Public Library, 301 S. Fourth St., Pekin; Havana Public Library, 201 W. Adams St., Havana; and Watseka Public Library, 201 S. 4th St., Watseka.

For further information, go to www.epa.gov/region5/water/gwdw/mahomet