[Naperville] Council OKs switch to LED lights citywide

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

Naperville is keeping the lights on, and spending less to do so.

A final $1 million outlay approved last week to convert the city’s conventional high pressure sodium streetlights to more energy-efficient light emitting diode fixtures will save money and wrap the project up ahead of schedule, staff said.

Illini Gadget Garage will provide a space to repair electronics on University of Illinois campus

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

You’ve dropped your cellphone and cracked the screen. Or your computer needs a memory upgrade, the headphone jack no longer works or the hard drive has failed.

You’ve had the electronics for several years, and you could just buy the latest device with the newest features.

Or you could fix the one you have. If repairing an electronic device yourself sounds prohibitively complex and you aren’t sure where to start, help will soon be available on the University of Illinois campus.

The Illini Gadget Garage will open this semester. It will be a place for collaborative repair, modeled after the Campus Bike Center, only for electronics.

14 Local Governments to Consider Mahomet Aquifer Consent Decree

A proposed consent decree has been drafted between Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Clinton Landfill, Inc., and 14 local government agencies, which comprise the Mahomet Aquifer Coalition. Throughout the month of September, each agency will review and take action on the proposed agreement. If approved by all parties, the consent decree would resolve the pending litigation  regarding the disposal of certain hazardous materials in a landfill located above the Mahomet Aquifer. The Mahomet Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for nearly 750,000 people in 14 Illinois counties.
The City of Champaign has served as the lead agency for the Coalition leading these efforts, including the litigation, the designation of the aquifer as sole source, and promoting legislation to  protect the aquifer. The consent decree will appear before Champaign City Council at their  September 1, 2015, regular meeting. The agreement would allow manufactured gas plant (MGP) waste already dumped at the landfill to remain. In exchange, Clinton Landfill, Inc. is barred from accepting any more MGP source material or submitting any more applications to dispose of MGP source materials or federally regulated PCB waste at any  landfill facility anywhere in DeWitt County over the Mahomet Aquifer. Additionally, the landfill is required to receive at minimum, semi-annual groundwater monitoring, and must provide at least 12 additional inches of cover over the MGPs stored there. The proposed consent decree is available in its entirety on the City’s website at ci.champaign.il.us/aquifer
Below are detailed key points of the proposed consent decree:
  1. Clinton Landfill, Inc. agrees to withdraw its application before the United States Environmental Protection Agency for approval to accept Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) waste regulated by the Federal Toxic Substance Control Act in the chemical waste unit at the Clinton Landfill. They further agree not to seek future approval to dispose of said PCB waste in any landfill facility located anywhere in DeWitt County over the Mahomet Aquifer.
  2. Clinton Landfill, Inc. agrees to not accept additional Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) waste with chemical constituents in concentrations exceeding state regulatory limits for toxicity in the chemical waste unit. They also agree to not seek future permission from any regulatory body to accept such MGP waste at any landfill facility located anywhere in DeWitt County over the Mahomet Aquifer.
  3. Clinton Landfill, Inc. agrees to cover the MGP waste already disposed of in the chemical waste unit (pursuant to an earlier Illinois EPA approval) with a 12 inch layer of impermeable clay soils. This is to prevent water and other liquids from other waste subsequently disposed of on top of the MGP waste from leaking into the MGP waste
  4. Clinton Landfill, Inc. agrees to have properly licensed environmental testing professionals test the groundwater at Clinton Landfill for the presence of toxic chemicals commonly found in MGP wastes on a semiannual basis. Tests are to be conducted for the remaining operational life of the chemical waste unit and for the post-closure period of time (under current law a minimum of 30 years) and to provide those test results to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  5. The State of Illinois, through the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois EPA, reserve the right to pursue any future criminal or civil violations related to any future contamination of the environment from the MGP wastes already accepted at Clinton Landfill, and any remedies available under the law, including but not limited to the removal of the waste material causing the contamination.

Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

There are many non-profit organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area that accept donations all year. My ISTC colleague Joy Scrogum compiled a list several months ago and I’ve added to it. If there are any I missed, let me know in the comments.

Updated August 19, 2015 to the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company’s donation policies. Continue reading Where to donate your used stuff in Champaign-Urbana

Water Scholars Website Launched

unnamedThe Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) has announced a new website to coalesce the dozens of water scholars on the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.

The website showcases Illinois research, education, and engagement programs integrated across four main categories of water-related “needs”:

  1. Adaptation to a changing climate and extreme weather events;
  2. Sustainable water, food, and energy resources;
  3. Safe drinking water and public health; and
  4. Resilient watersheds and ecosystems.

In addition, Water at Illinois has individual pages for scholars, plus a page describing who the scholars are and the Water Council that steers them. It is a “front porch” to various water centers at Illinois — including the state surveys, academic units, and grant-based centers — as well as to laboratories, facilities and field stations that specialize in water research.

For more information, please visit water.illinois.edu.

Hot on the trail: Chicago to expand Northwest Side cycling, walking path on river

Read the full story in RedEye Chicago.

A month after The 606 elevated rails-to-trails project opened, plans are moving forward on another trail project on the Northwest Side.

Plans call for a bridge crossing over the North Branch of the Chicago River and a multiuse trail on the east bank of the river underneath Addison Street, near California Avenue, to connect existing trails for cyclists, runners and pedestrians between two parks.

Chicago makes bike sharing service more affordable for low-income city residents

Chicago has launched the Divvy for Everyone (D4E) program to address financial barriers and increase access to their bike sharing service. While the price of an annual membership breaks down to only twenty cents a day, some Chicagoans cannot use Divvy because they do not have credit or debit cards or are on a fixed income.

The new program features a $5 annual membership and doesn’t require a credit card, although you need to register in person at one of the LISC Financial Opportunity Centers listed on the web site.

A family of four with a household income of less than $72,750 per year qualifies for one-time $5 membership. The program is only open to Chicago residents.

For more information, visit https://www.divvybikes.com/d4e.