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U.S. EPA Declares Mahomet Aquifer A Primary Drinking Water Source

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added an extra layer of regulatory protection for a central Illinois aquifer by declaring it a primary source of drinking water.  

The EPA on Wednesday said the Mahomet aquifer is primary water source for more than 750,000 people in central Illinois. That guarantees extra scrutiny of any project there that includes federal finances.  

Local leaders in towns that use the aquifer pushed for the designation to try to block plans to store toxic PCBs in a landfill over the aquifer in Clinton. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency blocked those plans last summer based on a problems with local approvals of the project.  

A request for comment was left for a lawyer for the company behind the project, Peoria-based Area Disposal Service Inc.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added a layer of regulatory protection to the Mahomet Aquifer, declaring it a primary source of drinking water for much of central Illinois.

The aquifer is a formation of sand and gravel that runs roughly from the Indiana state line west to the Illinois River in Cass County in west-central Illinois.

It underlies parts of 14 counties, appearing on a map like a giant zigzag jutting southwest from near Danville to the Illinois River south of Peoria.  

_Counties served by the aquifer are Cass, Champaign, DeWitt, Ford, Iroquois, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Piatt Vermilion and Woodford.  

_The sand and gravel, which are more than 100 feet below ground in the eastern end of the formation and become shallower to the west, are saturated with water.  

_Water utilities across much of the part of central Illinois that sits over the aquifer tap it for drinking water. In all, about 750,000 people use the aquifer for at least some of their drinking water. Farms and businesses in towns across the region also use it.

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