News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

New Law Requires Public Notice of Groundwater and Soil Gas Contamination

New Public Act 096-0603 imposes new requirements for notice to the public of groundwater and soil gas contamination.

First, the owner or operator of a community water system must notify all residents and owners of premises connected to the affected community water system when Illinois EPA either (1) refers a matter for enforcement or (2) issues an order sealing wells.  (New 415 ILCS 5/18.1.)

Second, Illinois EPA must notify residents and owners of premises connected to affected community water systems (or connected to water systems receiving water from the affected community water system) when the agency determines that groundwater contamination poses a threat of exposure to the public above Class I groundwater quality standards.  (New 415 ILCS 5/25d-3(a)(2)(B)(ii).)

Third, Illinois EPA must notify owners of contaminated property that soil gas contamination above Tier 1 remediation objectives extends beyond the boundary of the site where the release occurred.  (New language added to 415 ILCS 5/25d-3(a)(1).)  Previously, Illinois EPA was only required to provide notice only for soil contamation.  Now, soil gas contamination is included in the notice.

So what does this all mean?  The public will have more knowledge than ever about contamination in their water supply and in their soils.  And that is probably a good thing, because citizens will be able to avoid things that can potentially make them sick.  Will we see more litigation based on these notice requirements?  It remains to be seen.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.

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