Smile Politely

Drink up

You know what was awesome? When I woke up this morning, went straight to my sink, and filled up a massive cup of water. I subsequently began to chug the water, draining it in the better part of six seconds, truly basking in the infrastructural glory that is clean pressurized tap water. 

As I’m sure many of you know, the reason C-U (and much of Central Illinois) has such nice and accessible water resources is due to the fact that we lie directly over the Mahomet Aquifer, one of the most prominent groundwater sources in the United States. This aquifer stretches from very near the Indiana border to Peoria, encompassing the living area of more than 800,000 Illinoisans. This truly is a natural wonder that C-U was lucky enough to be on top of, leading to a plethora of clean water resources for its citizens.

I don’t purport to be a geologist or an aquifer expert (surely those exist, right?), but aquifers across the country are in differing varieties of dire states. Earlier this summer, The USA Today reported that (based on satellite data) that the water level in 21 of the 37 major aquifers in the United States had dropped, including many of those aquifers that provide crucial water resources to extremely dry regions of the country.

Part of the reason we have been so lucky in retaining the health of the Mahomet Aquifer is due largely in fact to the commitment of the community and surrounding areas to maintaining its high grade of health. Over the past couple of years, however, a battle has been brewing between those who seek to protect the aquifer at all costs (whose members include a multi-partisan coalition of state legislators and politicians) and a landfill in Clinton, Illinois, which seeks to dispose of potentially harmful waste in land where runoff goes straight into the aquifer.

When Governor Bruce Rauner was elected in November, I, like many environmentally conscious citizens, worried for the future of the aquifer. I wasn’t sure how in hell this could be connected to the free market, but I was sure Rauner would find a way and somehow stand against the protection of the resources all of us depend on daily.

Alas, just last week, I was proved exceptionally wrong, and I couldn’t be happier. At a Friday meeting at the Piatt County Farm Bureau, Governor Rauner signed HB 1326, preventing the dumping of “manufactured gas plant waste” at most landfills in Illinois, especially those which lie in close proximity to the aquifer.

Once again, I’m not a scientist, but I can’t imagine a lack of “manufactured gas plant waste” in my water being a bad thing. Maybe that’s just me, though. What’s more, this initiative came with overwhelming bipartisan support, showing that state government doesn’t have to be constantly embroiled in an infuriating stalemate where the citizens are held hostage.

If only Bruce could show the same commitment to state workers as he does to clean water initiatives; maybe then, budget cuts and furlough days wouldn’t be given out to employees like candy. I’ll take what I can get with this Mahomet Aquifer agreement, though. Thanks for looking out for us, Bruce (not written in a sarcastic manner for the first time in my life)!

(Map by the Illinois State Water Survey, Photo of Bruce Rauner by

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