Oct 16, 2018

Illinois EPA Takes Over Groundwater Concern in Wedron, Ill.

Illinois town has no municipal water service and residents obtain their drinking water from private wells

Illinois town has no municipal water service and residents obtain their drinking water from private wells
Illinois town has no municipal water service and residents obtain their drinking water from private wells.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) is now working on the contaminated groundwater in Wedron, Ill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) was formerly working on the project.

According to the LaSalle Post-Tribune, the source of contaminants was found to be petroleum from underground storage tanks. An Illinois EPA spokeswoman said the federal Superfund program no longer applies to the Wedron cleanup because of a Superfund petroleum exclusion.

The town has no municipal water service and residents have to obtain their drinking water from private wells. In 1982, agency investigations began after residents complained of gasoline-type odors in the water.

According to the LaSalle Post-Tribune, the likely source of contamination is the former Hoxsey store and gas station. In 1978, two underground petroleum tanks were removed at the Hoxsey site but the contamination remains. The site was in operation from the late 1920s to 1977, when the store was destroyed by fire.

The Illinois EPA will try to persuade the owner of the site to clean up the soil, according to the LaSalle Post-Tribune. If this does not work, the Illinois EPA will look into using Leaking Underground Storage Tank Fund to help cleanup. According to the spokeswoman, the Illinois EPA will have to negotiate with the owner to access the site.

Shallow water wells remain and some have shown contamination. The affected homes have been provided bottled water. The Illinois EPA recently installed and maintained filtration systems at nine homes and changed the filters over the summer.

According to LaSalle Post-Tribune, the La Salle County Health Department periodically collect water samples. The Illinois EPA said it is unknown if the contaminated groundwater plume is in response to surround pumping activity from the wells.

Some water sample showed elevated levels of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, and compounds from gasoline, according to the LaSalle Post-Tribune. Benzene is a chemical used in fuel and other manufacturing products that can cause cancer.

A study also showed that airborne silica particles from Wedron Silica levels are below the at-risk health concentration. Wedron Silica is a sand mining and processing company. According to LaSalle Post-Tribune, there is no regulatory standard for silica in air.

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