04052018CM0324CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) plan to protect East Central Illinois’ primary water source from underground natural gas leaks was signed into law today.

In December 2016, there was a gas leak from a natural-gas facility near the Mahomet Aquifer, the underground water source which underlies 15 Illinois counties. However, Peoples Gas failed to notify residents and government officials of the leak for several months.

Bennett co-sponsored House Bill 4746 to require that Peoples Gas must immediately notify residents, businesses and government officials of any gas leaks at its gas storage field located above the Mahomet Aquifer.

“We have to take steps to prevent disasters like the one in Flint, Michigan from happening in our backyard,” Bennett said. “Maintaining clean and safe drinking water for our citizens is vital to protecting the public health and development of our communities.”

The new law also requires Peoples Gas to pay for annual inspections of its gas storage field conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.

Since he was elected, Bennett has sponsored several bills through the Illinois General Assembly aimed at protecting the primary water supply for Champaign and Vermilion County. Recently, he helped create the Mahomet Aquifer Task Force and put together a group of leaders in the community who are tasked with ensuring high quality, clean drinking water for families in Central Illinois. 

“The Mahomet Aquifer serves as a lifeline for our region,” Bennett said. “Today we moved one step closer toward our goal of protecting this important resource for our children and generations to come.”

House Bill 4746 was signed into law today. It takes effect immediately.

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