WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Following a new report detailing multiple and repeated failures by Illinois power plants to take adequate steps to protect groundwater from dangerous contamination, state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, is once again raising the alarm.
“Power companies have repeatedly assured us that their groundwater protection measures are sufficient and complained that concerns about the environmental impact of their operations are overblown, but now we see the truth they’ve been trying to cover up” Mayfield said. “These companies are not complying with regulations and have been polluting our groundwater all while hoping they wouldn’t get caught. This is unacceptable.”
The State Journal-Register on Nov. 4 reported that a study conducted by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), in conjunction with Earthjustice, found that multiple power plants in Illinois, including the Dallman plant in Springfield and the Marion plant in Marion, were found to have groundwater contaminants including arsenic, boron, cobalt and thallium at up to 63 times the safe levels. These substances are known to cause health problems when ingested, and can affect internal organs including the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, and brain.
The contamination is due at least in part to the widespread practice among power companies of dumping coal ash, which is a toxic byproduct of coal-fired power generation, in large “ponds.” Rules passed in 2015, with which many power companies routinely fail to comply, regulate the dumping and storage of coal ash and other contaminants. Mayfield in 2022 introduced House Bill 4358, to strengthen these rules. She became an advocate for stronger coal ash regulation due to the threat to groundwater and to Lake Michigan from a now-defunct coal power plant in Waukegan which was operated by power company NRG.
“It is time to stop listening to excuses and get serious. These companies are threatening the environment and public health with their irresponsible behavior and enough is enough,” Mayfield said. “They clearly do not believe the rules apply to them or that they will be held accountable, and so it falls to us to show them otherwise.”
Mayfield’s constituent service office is reachable at 847-599-2800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
245-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
120 S Genesee St.
Waukegan, IL 60085
(847) 599-2955 FAX