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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

What's Next In Wedron Water Probe?

Jenna Dooley

There is increased attention on water quality across the nation as a result of elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan.

For the past several years, the unincorporated community of Wedron, in LaSalle County, has been dealing with its own water woes.

EPA: Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

In 2011, residents complained of gasoline odors from their water. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich even visited to draw attention to the issue. Turns out, there were elevated levels of benzene that affected nine properties with private wells.

Steven Faryan  is the on-scene coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency. He says everybody uses private wells in that area, and says there is really no municipal water supply at all within or near the village.

Officials determined the likely source of the contamination was a former gas station and also a former grain facility now owned by Illinois Railway.

“There are monitoring wells installed at both of those properties and those will continue to be monitored,” Faryan tells WNIJ.

As for the residents?

“We have installed replacement wells for the affected residences at eight locations. There is one home that still does have a carbon filter that will have to be replaced every year.”

This spring, contract work will be done to test the area’s lower aquifer to see if additional wells could be installed and not cause additional water quality issues.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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