The Mahomet Aquifer stretches from the Indiana border to the Illinois River. (Photo courtesy of mahometaquiferconsortium.org)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
NORMAL - An engineer recommends communities in Central Illinois move forward with the petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the Mahomet Aquifer as a sole water supply.
With the designation, the water supply would be considered protected. The aquifer is where Normal, Champaign and several other communities get water from. Allen Wehrmann with Layne Christensen Company said Normal uses four to five million gallons a day- most of it from local wells- while Champaign uses 25 million gallons a day.
"Out of the Mahomet Aquifer, and those aquifers that lie above it, we're somewhere on the order of 53 million gallons a day for community supply and another four plus million gallons a day, we estimate, for rural drinking water," Wehrmann said.
The aquifer is an ancient underground river valley made of sand and gravel that holds water. It stretches from the Indiana border to the Illinois River.
Wehrmann said if the aquifer became unusable for some reason, it would not be economically feasible to create a surface water supply.
"You only have to go over to Bloomington to realize this past summer what a luxury it is to have an adequate water supply and be able to rely on a Mahomet Aquifer when you need it and not have to worry about your wells going dry," Wehrmann said.
He recommended to the council that the petition process continues.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com.