Gov. Rauner announces appointments to Mahomet Aquifer Task Force

CHICAGO (December 20, 2017) — Gov. Bruce Rauner today made appointments to the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force, which has been charged with protection of the Mahomet Aquifer, a primary source of drinking water for 500,000 central Illinois residents.

“People throughout central Illinois depend on the Mahomet Aquifer for drinking water,” said Rauner. “Developing a plan to maintain the quality of groundwater is an important part of ensuring the long-term health and safety of these residents.”

The aquifer provides 53 million gallons of water each year to 120 public water systems and helps supply water for rural wells. The Mahomet Aquifer Task Force was developed through legislation (Senate Bill 611) signed into law by the governor Aug. 25.

“I am ecstatic for all these appointments, and I appreciate the governor considering recommendations from myself and state Sen. Scott Bennett,” said state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who also will serve on the task force. “This talented group of people ensures central Illinois has great representation on the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force.

“I want to thank the governor for being proactive on this issue,” he added. “I look forward to our first meeting.”

The Mahomet Aquifer Task Force was established to develop a plan to maintain groundwater quality; determine potential and current contamination threats; determine any action to be taken to protect the Mahomet Aquifer; and develop legislative recommendations that would help protect the Mahomet Aquifer in the future.

 “The Mahomet Aquifer is a tremendous resource and protecting it has been a top priority for me since day one,” Bennett said. “I am thrilled that we were able to bring this task force to fruition and now have a team in place to help maintain clean and safe drinking water for generations to come.”

By law, the task force includes two members who represent a national waste and recycling organization, one from a statewide environmental organization, three from a nonprofit consortium dedicated to the sustainability of the aquifer, one representing the Illinois State Water Survey of the Prairie Research Institute of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one pipe trades association representative, one from the Illinois Farm Bureau, one from a statewide manufacturing trades association, one from a local community health care organization, seven from local government bodies whose territories are over the aquifer and one representing a statewide business association that focuses on environmental issues.

Appointees are: Charles Hostetler, senior program manager, PDC Technical Services; Eric Ballenger, senior manager-hydrogeology, Republic Services; Andrew Rehn, water resources engineer, Prairie Rivers Network; mayors Deborah Frank-Feinen of Champaign, Diane Marlin of Urbana and Julie Moore-Wolfe of Decatur; George Roadcap, hydrogeologist, Illinois State Water Survey-Prairie Research Institute; Lynn Karner, executive director, Illinois Pipe Trades Association; Steve Turner, member, Illinois Farm Bureau; Jerry Peck, director of government affairs, Illinois Manufacturers Association; Claudia Lenhoff, executive director, Champaign County Healthcare Consumers; David Zimmerman, county board chairman, Tazewell; Larry Stoner, mayor of Monticello; Jim Risley, member of the Mahomet-Seymour School District; Teresa Barnett, director of government affairs, DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency; Chris Koos, mayor of Normal; Todd Zalucha, mayor of Heyworth; Charles Smith, mayor of Rantoul; and Alec Davis, executive director, Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group.

Legislators representing each caucus have also been appointed by the four legislative leaders to serve on the task force, including Senator Chapin Rose, Senator Scott Bennett, Representative Carol Ammons, and Representative Bill Mitchell.

The task force must submit its report and solutions to the General Assembly by July 1, 2018.

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