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City Water Meeting Brings Up Several Issues

Springfield's water was the topic of concern at a public meeting on Wednesday night, but people spoke out about other issues as well. (WICS)

Springfield's water was the topic of concern at a public meeting on Wednesday night, but people spoke out about other issues as well.

The meeting was the first of three public meetings Mayor Jim Langfelder has promised to Springfield residents. The meeting was focused on the city's water supply and resources. About 70 people showed up and asked questions and voiced concerns.

Some of the issues brought up were:

  • Coal ash ponds, which are engineered ponds for the disposal of coal ash. A lot of people are concerned it's polluting the water, but the city and CWLP say it doesn't pose any danger to the drinking water.
  • Renewables and what Springfield's plan is to increase more solar and wind power. Residents were concerned about how the city would increase its renewable energy and why more hasn't been done already. City leaders say it's a financial matter that comes down to the cost of generating versus purchasing.
  • Whether or not the city needs a secondary source of water.

"So we're spending money, we're buying properties, we're paying environmental firms, we're doing a lot of things but yet we're not maintaining the lake we have properly, we're not doing anything for conservation," said Scott Gauvin, the Chair of the Sangamon Valley Group of the Sierra Club.

However, Mayor Jim Langfelder says having a secondary source of water is vital for the development and future success of the city. "Communities that have a safe quality water supply that's reliable in the future are the ones that are going to grow," said Mayor Langfelder. "And as I said before is we're the secondary source of water for a lot of our communities - Chatham and the surrounding areas - and we don't have a secondary source of water."

CWLP officials said initially, there were 32 alternatives for a secondary water source. Of those, 21 were eliminated for reasons including being too costly, or not providing adequate water. Remaining alternatives include the Sangamon River Valley Wells, the Illinois River Well, or combinations of those and gravel pits.

Mayor Langfelder said he told the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers that if they deny the permit for Hunter Lake, he's holding them accountable to provide an alternative, secondary water source for the city.

Dates or topics for the other two public meetings have not been scheduled yet.

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