Ill. Pollution Control will look into health concerns

By Melissa Mastrogiovanni

Over the course of the summer, the citizens’ action group, “Stop the DeKalb County Mega-Dump,” has been in the process of filing an appeal to the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

This appeal would halt the proceedings of the expansion of the current DeKalb County landfill.

“Right now, lawyers from both sides are taking depositions” said Dan Kenney, chairman of the group. “Then there will be a hearing to resolve the matter,”

“They have tentative hearing dates set for November 22 and 23,” said Illinois Pollution Control Board spokeswoman, Connie Newman.

The current landfill is located on 88 acres of property south of I-88 in Cortland and takes in 272 tons of garbage per day.

At this time, the landfill only stores the garbage of the DeKalb County residents.

Under the new expansion plan, however, the new landfill could potentially take in garbage from 17 Illinois counties, including Cook County.

These counties would have to pay a tipping fee. The revenue brought in from these fees would be used in the expansion of the county jail.

In addition, the landfill would eventually stretch over 500 acres, and trucks would unload over 2,000 tons of garbage per day.

Also, this new landfill would be a quarter of a mile away from the Cortland Elementary School. In a letter written by Jim Briscoe, DeKalb School District 428 Superintendent, to the parents and families of Cortland Elementary, Briscoe had this to say.

“On Thursday, July 29th, the Board of Education held a Special Meeting to review the air testing results conducted by Carnow, Conibear & Associates (CCA) which took place in early July. Dr. Theodore Hogan, an Industrial Hygienist and Chemist, reviewed the data collected by CCA and concluded in his report that the levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) reported by CCA were safe for students and staff.”

In Hogan’s report, he advises “I recommend that the School District obtain a continuous H2S monitor and place it inside the school. The monitor must be capable of identifying and continuously measuring H2S at concentrations below the Minimal Risk Level (MRL) of 0.02 parts per million (ppm) and have an alarm. If the alarm goes off, a written plan of action should be followed to contact nearby H2S emitters and to implement other actions needed to protect the students.”

According to citizens’ action group member and concerned parent, Lisa Wilcox, “I give kudos to the school district for having testing done and maintaining open communication with the parents of Cortland Elementary.”