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Illinois: Carbondale Leaders Join Opposition of Wastewater Dumping Proposal



August 13, 2019 - The owners of Pond Creek Mine in Illinois faced more pushback Monday night.

Carbondale city leaders voted to oppose the pipeline from the mine to the Big Muddy River.



News 3 reported in July about the owners of the mine wanting to dump nearly 3.5 million gallons of wastewater into the river each day.

Williamson Energy from Williamson County is asking the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDNR) for permission to build a pipeline to release the water.

The Illinois EPA has already approved a permit application, but the company is waiting to hear back from the IDNR.

Besides Carbondale opposing the pipeline, Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens also is against the idea of the pipeline.

"The problem that I particularly have with this permit is there are other options available to dispose of this water," Stephens said. "Murray Energy just says those other options are too expensive. So they would rather build a pipeline and dump it into the Big Muddy River."

Pond Creek Mine is located about 14 miles south of the Rend Lake dam.

"The application pretty much spells out that they feel like this is the safest and least expensive way for them to accomplish that," Stephens said. "My concern is to look out for the residents of Murphysboro and the natural resources that they interact with and in my opinion this plan is the worst of the options they have available."

Both the Carbondale City Council and the Carbondale Park District both voted unanimously to oppose the pipeline.

Stephens said there is a lot a boat traffic on the Big Muddy River and is worried what will happen to the aquatic life.

"Even if the water they want to add to the Big Muddy River was as pure as the drive snow, we still don't need anymore water in the river," Stephens said.

In the company's application, they said the water is seeping into the mine and is posing a danger to miners.

"I just feel that there are other means for it to be done," Stephens said.

Monday was the final day for anyone to file a public comment with the state.

The IDNR plans to make its decision sometime later this month.