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Guest Column from Representative Kyle Koehler: Join Me in Working to Protect Our Water Supply

August 21, 2015
J. Kyle Koehler News

We are truly blessed when it comes to our water supply in Clark County—abundant and pure, with every indication that it can continue into the foreseeable future.  We must not take for granted the protection of that water source for our families and our children’s futures. 

The Tremont City Barrel Fill, while small for a Superfund Alternative Site (8.5 acres), contains at least 1.5 million gallons of hazardous wastes. It is located west of Tremont City, up-flow from the City of Springfield well fields. The U.S. EPA has been considering different proposals for the hazardous waste clean-up at the site.  As discussions continue over the proposal options, my concern remains that the hazardous waste poses a potential danger to our water supply. Over 82,000 people in Clark County depend on this water as a drinking water source. Many others in the county rely on private wells that feed from the same source.

We all recognize that protecting our water source is crucial to our health and our economic well-being. This is not a partisan issue, and the site must be cleaned up. The hazardous wastes must not be reburied on a site where a sanitary landfill permit was denied next door to it because of its geological standing.

The residents, thus far, have been telling the U.S. EPA: Dig those wastes up, truck them out, and protect our water! For more than 35 years, those barrels have been buried in unlined pits. Our County Health Commissioner, Charles Patterson, has noted that trace contaminants were showing up in monitoring wells ten years ago. The clock is ticking. We need action.

The U.S. EPA will hold a public forum on Thursday, August 27th to hear input from the local community and discuss their plan to allow the responsible parties to create a new toxic waste landfill in Clark County.

I encourage everyone to make time to attend this meeting on Thursday, August 27th at 6:00 p.m. at Northwestern High School in the high school cafeteria/auditorium. It is time to let your voice be heard. I hope that your presence on Thursday will help us determine the best solution for the 79th District.