2015 Illinois Solar Tour scheduled for October 3

The Illinois Solar Tour, on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 is a FREE PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE.

Home and business owners with renewable energy installations will open their homes to the public to share their passion, knowledge and experience of owning and living with renewable energy.

Visit any site at any time between 10 am and 2 pm. Homeowners will be available at each site to provide information, share experiences and answer questions. Find a site near you.

Attend the Illinois Solar Tour to:

  • Learn how home and business owners are utilizing solar and other clean energies to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and to become energy independent
  • Meet people who have renewable energy installations, learn why they did it, the process, what they love about it and lessons learned
  • Learn about the different technologies and see how they are installed
  • Hear how different renewable energy technologies work together
  • Find out all of the ways you can use clean energy to power your life

Manure spill blamed for fish kill

Read the full story in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

State-protected fish were killed when liquid manure discharged from a Fithian-area farm into Stony Creek and then the Salt Fork over the weekend, state officials say.

Biologists estimate the pollution affected about 10 miles of waterway, killing fish up to the Oakwood Road bridge over the Salt Fork of the Vermilion River.

The spill also was identified as a potential threat to Oakwood’s water supply, but the operator kept the water intake pump off to cease pulling water from the river, according to a news release.

Webinar: State & Regional Water Supply Planning in Illinois

Thu, Sep 10, 2015 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4662745508236016642

Presented by Walt Kelly – Head of the Groundwater Science Section and Groundwater Geochemist at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute and Adjunct Professor of Geography-Geology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In 2006, Governor Blagojevich issued Executive Order 2006-01, which called for the development of state and regional water supply planning under the direction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinois has been divided into ten regions for water supply planning. For each region, a regional water supply planning committee (RWSPC) is formed, comprised of members from major stakeholder groups (e.g., agriculture, industry, mining, environmental, municipal, etc.). The State Water and Geological Surveys are responsible for scientific studies of Illinois’ water resources, working closely with the RWSPCs to optimize planning efforts. Plans have been developed for three regions (Northeast Illinois, East-Central Illinois, and the Kaskaskia River Basin). In 2014, funding was made available to start planning in two new regions (Middle Illinois River Basin and Northwest Illinois) and a sub-region (Kankakee River Basin). In this presentation, Kelly will discuss past, current, and future water supply planning activities in Illinois, focusing on scientific work being done at the Water Survey.

[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