Project to provide a better picture of what Mahomet aquifer looks like

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

Scientists will take to the sky over much of Champaign County to get a closer look below the earth later this month.

Area residents shouldn’t be alarmed if they spy a fast-moving helicopter towing what looks like a trampoline frame.

Beginning Nov. 19, as part of a project contracted by the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois and funded by Champaign County, the helicopter will be mapping most of the county to provide a three-dimensional look at the Mahomet aquifer, which supplies hundreds of millions of gallons of water per day to East Central Illinois.

Campus Landscape Master Plan: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Download the document.

The Campus Landscape Master Plan (CLMP) presents a shared vision for the overall campus landscape and provides specific design guidelines, tested through extensive public engagement and stakeholder input. The campus community desires a landscape that inspires, nurtures, restores and educates. They desire a multifunctional landscape that provides opportunities for collaboration, celebration and gathering; a landscape that clearly defines the University of Illinois brand and is accessible, safe, inviting and manageable; a landscape that respects origins and heritage, a landscape that will amplify the region’s biodiversity and assist in the University with achieving its Climate Leadership commitments. The CLMP outlines a vision to achieve a resilient, sustainable campus landscape. The realization of this vision will require a commitment towards phased investment year by year over the coming decades. By committing to a sustainable campus the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will embody resilience as a model landscape in the Midwest and a world-leader in campus native landscape expression and honoring rain water as a valued resource.

Students protest in climate strike demanding UI fossil fuel divestment

Read the full story in the Daily Illini.

Organized by the Students with Environmental Concerns RSO, students converged by Alma Mater at noon on Wednesday as part of a climate strike that aimed to draw attention to the climate crisis and demand that the University divest from its economic holdings in fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy.

University YMCA Dump & Run returns for 2022

Dump and Run keeps over 30 tons of used, quality goods out of Champaign-Urbana’s dumpsters and landfills each year. This project reduces litter and consumer waste, saves space in landfills, lowers dumping costs for certified housing and apartments and provides inexpensive items for folks to purchase in the fall.

This year collections will begin on Monday, August 1 and culminate with the Big Sale on August 20 and 21. All collections and the sale will be held at the U of I Stock Pavilion, in cooperation with the College of ACES and Department of Animal Sciences.

Dump & Run 2022 Collection Days

All collections will be held at the UI Stock Pavilion, located at 1402 W. Pennsylvania Ave, Urbana IL, beginning on Monday, August 1.

  • Monday Aug. 1: noon – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday Aug. 2 – Friday Aug. 5: 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 6: 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • Monday Aug. 8 – Friday August 12: 9:00am – 4:00pm. Late collection on Wednesday Aug. 10 until 7:00pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 13: 10:00am – 2:00pm


The Big Sale is BACK ON!

Located at the Stock Pavilion, 1402 W. Pennsylvania Ave.

Saturday, August 20, 2022:
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. $4 admission
Free admission for U of I students.

Sunday, August 21, 2022:
11:00am – 2:00 p.m.: $3 bag sale and 1/2 price furniture
2:30-3:00 p.m.: “Free sale”

Want to shop early? Volunteer for one 3+ hour shift for first dibs during the August volunteer pre-sale!

Allerton Park offers bird-focused hikes in April

American redstart, one of the more common and vocal warblers to visit central Illinois. American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), male” by Allan Hopkins is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Join Allerton Natural Areas Staff on unique bird-focused hikes this spring. As migration progresses, the bird species at the Park change almost daily. Binoculars will be available on a first-come basis. Each week the hike will leave from the Main Parking Lot at 9 am and will focus on a different area of the Park. Registration is required and tickets cost $5 per person. Children under 5 are free.

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate, please email Olivia at

Upcoming hikes

From trash to treasure: Illinois dump becomes community solar farm

Photo credit: Nexamp

Read the full story at Yale Climate Connections. See also How to turn trash into treasure: Put solar panels over landfills at Canary Media.

In Urbana, Illinois, a former landfill is now home to a community solar farm. With nearly 14,000 solar panels, it provides enough clean electricity to power a municipal building and about 300 homes.

Study seeks private well users for research into lead levels

by Trish Barker, Prairie Research Institute

The Water Survey, with collaborators from the University of Illinois and county health departments, is continuing a study into measurable lead levels in homes with private wells in rural areas of Champaign, Jackson, Peoria, Kane, and Whiteside counties.

Lead exposure can cause serious damage to children’s developing brains, so identifying elevated lead concentrations and working with homeowners and public health workers to mitigate sources of lead in water is vital.

The study involves taking water samples to determine if there is lead. After initial sampling, some participants are then selected for the next phase, which involves repeat sampling and plumbing and well assessments to identify sources of lead. If the water is found to have lead in this phase, researchers randomly assign the home to one of four mitigation methods, which include devices to remove lead and potentially modifications to the pipes, plumbing, and/or well.

The study is now recruiting participants from Champaign and Whiteside counties, and the neighboring counties of Ogle, Lee, Bureau, Henry, and Rock Island. If you live in one of these counties, use a private well, and are interested in participating, please contact for more information.

This story originally appeared on the PRI News blog. Read the original article.

Contaminated drinking water from Peoples Gas leak persists, funds to fix frozen as lawsuit continues

Read the full story from C-U Citizen Access.

A 2016 gas leak into the drinking water supply north of Mahomet continues to be a hot topic, embroiled in regulatory action and lawsuits even five years after the leak.

The first official report of a methane leak from the underground holding wells of Peoples Gas was reported on December 20, 2016. The problem location was at County Rd 350 E. in the township of Newcomb, just north of Mahomet and near Fisher, IL. 

Peoples Gas claims to have capped off the well that was leaking and terminated its use. However, residents in homes in the vicinity said they were still affected by the leak. 

The situation also has led to several initiatives and prompted legislation to solve the problem. However, it took nearly a year before a case was brought to the Illinois Attorney General’s office in October 2017. 

Fertilizer washes off Midwest farm fields and taints communities’ drinking water, poisons Gulf of Mexico

Read the full story from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

As rainfall events become more intense and frequent, fertilizers applied to Midwestern farmland wash away, contaminating waterways near and far.

New solar farm helping low income families

Read the full story from WCIA.

A new solar farm will help lower some people’s energy bills. The solar farm was put on a landfill in Urbana.

It’s part of the “Illinois Solar for All” program. That initiative helps low and moderate income people in the Ameren service area. Officials say they’re excited because it also uses unusable land to offer help to those who need it.