This week, Spiros Law clients were interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the dangerous natural gas leak in Mahomet that has caused serious concerns for residents there. Many families were left unnotified about the contamination of the water in their homes from a leak in an injection well owned by Peoples Gas. The family says that they were drinking and bathing in water that was likely contaminated with natural gas for three months before they were made aware of the issue.
Peoples Gas first alerted the EPA and other regulatory agencies about the leak in December of 2016. Residents of the area noticed signs of natural gas contamination in the form of “milky bubbles” coming out of their faucets around this time. Some homeowners even reported being able to light their tap water on fire. Despite the report from Peoples Gas and complaints from residents, state officials waited to refer the case to the office of the Attorney General until October of 2017. Although the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is the agency responsible for protecting the groundwater in the state, they were not the ones who reported the problem. Instead, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources were the ones who referred the case.
The contamination of the Mahomet aquifer highlights the problems with the state’s enforcement system. The long delays in necessary action may have endangered the 850,000 people across central Illinois who depend on the aquifer for their drinking water. When asked about the issue, the family was quoted in the Tribune story as saying: “People say to us, “Why don’t you guys just go someplace else?’ We can’t leave because nobody’s going to buy our house.”
The team at Spiros Law, P.C. firmly believe that state officials in Illinois have a responsibility to protect all citizens from harm. The lack of action in this case is unacceptable and the responsible parties should be held accountable. For more information on this developing story, read the full story on our website, follow the Chicago Tribune’s coverage, and check back for regular updates. If you have been affected by the contamination of the Mahomet aquifer by Peoples Gas, contact us immediately at (815) 929-9292 to discuss your rights and legal options with a knowledgeable member of our team today.