A Boone County community wants to end a practice that left sewage in its ditches. This happened in Candlewick Lake back in April and June after some big rain.
This is common in some communities during weather emergencies but it's illegal in Boone County. Candlewick administrators say they should have found out about it before anything was dumped.
"Although it may have some degree been dissolved because of the storm sewer water it is raw sewage that is being discharged into the ditches," says Tracy Carter, Candlewick Lake General Manager.
Aqua Illinois says it had no choice to but dump the overflow if not sewage would have backed up into people's homes. According to the company the water discharged was almost all rain. Aqua tested its quality and gave samples to the Illinois EPA. Those came back as almost better quality than what would normally be discharged from the plant. Candlewick ran its own tests after it learned of the dumping and says it got different results.
"We tested in the ditches and in the lake and the fecali count was off the charts in the ditches and the areas that we tested in the lake were also very high," says Carter.
The Boone County Health Department says the IEPA issues permits for dumping in an emergency. But the county has an ordinance against it. Aqua says in the past 20 years it's rarely had to take such a measure in Candlewick but the rain was too extreme. Candlewick's general manager wants to make sure there is a safer solution.
"Part of what we are trying to accomplish here is if this is to occur again that it be done in the proper way where the proper notification and safety measures are taken by Aqua as well as clean up after the fact but our ultimate goal is to find other resolutions," says Carter.
The Boone County Health Department and Candlewick say Aqua has been working with them. The health department is scheduling a meeting between both sides for a permanent solution.
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