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Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Program

Central Groundwater Protection Planning Region (Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Mason Counties)

The Central Groundwater Protection Planning Committee has worked on several groundwater protection activities, including the City of Pekin's Groundwater Protection Area Ordinance and the Tazewell County Groundwater Protection Area Ordinance. Both of these efforts have been nationally recognized by the Groundwater Foundation. For further details, see the Committee's Web page at . They have also been involved with the Marquette Heights Maximum Setback Zone and with the development of the Pleasant Valley Regulated Recharge Area. The Central Groundwater Protection Planning Committee has assessed their efforts, and the following provides a summary of these actions:

  • Groundwater Protection Program Videos and Teacher Curriculum - In an effort to promote groundwater protection, education, and awareness, the Central Committee's Education Subcommittee developed and produced four videos, which may be presented in their entirety or in segments, accommodating class time restraints. In addition, a curriculum for teaching fourth- through eighth-grade students about the importance of groundwater as a natural resource was developed. Most recently, all four videos have been copied onto DVDs that are available from the Tazewell County Health Department. Curriculum materials are provided on the DVD (i.e., PowerPoint presentation, text, and sample quiz.) The electronic format allows teachers to modify and use them to accommodate for different teaching methods.
  • Clean Water Celebration - Since 1990, the Clean Water Celebration, held in Peoria, incorporates a variety of programs for students, teachers, and the public, with over 3000 attendees. Exhibits included information on riverbank erosion and stabilization, water treatment, wildlife of the wetlands, aquatic life, recycling, improving water quality, and natural resource conservation and management. Committee members staffed a booth on behalf of the Tazewell County Health Department, providing information on how citizens can help safeguard the water resources and educating on the environmental impacts of litter and pollution. In addition, in 2007 and 2008 the "Spirit of Peoria" riverboat was rented by a private sponsor, serving as a platform for an educational trip on the Illinois River. Nicknamed the "Floating Classroom," in 2007 the students and public examined educational stations, including a creative writing session with Tim Smith, author of the Buck Wilder series, a presentation by Prairie Folklore Theatre, and hands-on stations from local birdwatchers, artists, and water scientists who explored and discussed the Illinois River. The Committee continues to support the event by serving on the navigating committee, staffing learning sessions, and providing financial support to help defray transportation expenses for participating school districts.
  • Test Your Well Days - "Test Your Well Day" invites private well owners to collect and bring samples of their well water to be tested, at no charge, for the presence of nitrates. Events are often held in the evening, Saturday mornings, or combined with another event. Students, Girl Scouts, and other volunteers administer the tests using water quality test strips. Groundwater samples determined to have elevated levels of nitrate are then re-sampled and sent to a certified laboratory for a more accurate assessment. Utilizing community volunteers who offer valuable service in a non-threatening atmosphere is an innovative aspect of the "Test Your Well Day" concept. These events also provide well owners with educational material about groundwater protection, nonpoint source pollution, the importance of water quality, and pollution prevention practices. In addition, volunteers learn about the importance of environmental health and better understand their roles in safeguarding drinking water quality.
  • East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Committee - While Illinois has significant sources of both groundwater and surface water, the growing state population and increasing demand for water is expected to strain current resources. As described in Chapter IV, Section 5 of the 2006-2007 Biennial Comprehensive Status and Self-Assessment Report, Executive Order #1-2006 required the development of a comprehensive, statewide water supply planning and management strategy. The state began by selecting two areas most at risk for water shortages and conflicts, one of which is the Mahomet Aquifer, spanning central and east-central Illinois. The Mahomet Aquifer planning area includes Vermilion, Iroquois, Ford, Champaign, McLean, Macon, DeWitt, Piatt, Woodford, Tazewell, Mason, Logan, Menard, Cass, and Sangamon Counties. Three of these counties-Woodford, Tazewell, and Mason-are located within the Central Committee's priority planning region. To implement the requirements of Executive Order #1-2006, the Mahomet Aquifer Consortium started a three-year regional water supply planning process with a funding grant from DNR. The first task was to convene the East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Committee. This local planning committee has been established and will assist in the collection and evaluation of the hydrologic data needed to draft the regional water supply plan. This data will include figures such as total usable amount of groundwater and surface water in the planning area and projected water supply and demand scenarios. A representative from the Central Committee has been appointed to the East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Committee and regularly provides updates to the Central Committee members.

    The primary objectives and activities of the East Central Illinois Regional Water Supply Committee are to:

    • Utilize water resource research findings by the state surveys;
    • Develop water demand scenarios to year 2050;
    • Evaluate water supply and demand management options as potential implementation of such options might benefit the citizens of east central Illinois;

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