In Brief

Peoria Pilot Project Keeping Water Out of Sewer System

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A pilot project has kept over 600,000 gallons of rainwater out of Peoria’s sewer system.

The city’s two-block Adams Street project uses rain gardens, permeable pavers and other techniques to retain water. The (Peoria) Journal Star reports it has diverted 638,000 gallons of water since Oct. 22.

A single rainstorm can send 32 million gallons of rainwater rushing into Peoria’s combined sewer system. That system feeds into the city treatment plant and then the Illinois River.

Rainwater overloads the system 25 to 30 times per year, sending sewage into the river.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pressed Peoria since the 1980s to solve the problem.

A civil engineer with the city says Peoria would need 250 similarly scaled projects to counter the 160 million gallons of yearly rainfall.

U of Illinois OKs $15.9M Renovation for New Medical School

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois has approved a nearly $16 million renovation for a new medical school at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The Board of Trustees voted May 11 to spend $15.9 million to upgrade the existing Medical Sciences Building. The 32,000-square-foot facility is the future home of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Currently the building houses a regional campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

The new medical school is a partnership with the Urbana-based Carle Health System.

Construction is scheduled to start in November and will include renovating the building’s anatomy laboratory, classrooms and administrative offices. The work is slated to be complete by late 2019.

Funding for the project is coming from gifts and institutional funds. The university says no state money will be used.

McHenry County College Breaks Ground on New Science Center

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (AP) — Construction is set to begin on a nearly $17 million science center at McHenry County College.

The Northwest Herald reports a groundbreaking was held May 15 for the roughly 22,000-square-foot building.

MCC President Clint Gabbard says the college is “redefining the future” by creating new learning labs “for thousands of brilliant students to come to our community.”

The building will include a cadaver lab, planetarium, and lecture hall and is expected to open in fall 2018.

It will be paid for through donations, college funds and student fees.

The building will be named the Liebman Science Center in recognition of a $5 million donation from local resident Charles Liebman and his family.

Homeowners Sue to Stop Ohio Gas Pipeline Construction

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — More than 60 property owners in northeast Ohio are asking a federal court to block a proposed high-pressure natural gas pipeline.

Organizers of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus say a suit filed Friday in U.S. district court charges that the project violates the owners’ due process rights, misuses eminent domain to take property, and jeopardizes their safety. It seeks injunctions against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nexus Gas Transmission.

Nexus spokesman Adam Parker says that while the company can’t comment on pending litigation, it has undergone “rigorous environmental review” and will meet all regulations.

A message for comment was emailed to the commission.

The city of Green is also considering a lawsuit to stop the pipeline, which it says will cause economic harm and hurt environmentally fragile wetlands.

Duke Energy Plans to Close Coal Ponds in Indiana

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) — Duke Energy is planning to close coal ash ponds in Indiana because of new federal environmental regulations.

Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere tells The News and Tribune the company is disposing coal ash from some of its Gallagher Station ponds in New Albany into a landfill. Other ponds will be closed in place on the property.

Closing the ponds entails draining water, drying ash, covering basins with a liner and monitoring groundwater contaminants.

Environmentalists say they’re concerned about the ponds’ proximity to an aquifer and the Ohio River.

Coal ash is the waste produced from burning coal and can contain harmful toxins.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is reviewing the company’s plans.

Duke also plans to dispose coal ash into Terre Haute ponds, which they’ll also close. Residents have expressed concerns about the ponds’ proximity to the Wabash River.

Flint to Get $100 million in Federal Aid After Snyder’s OK

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Flint will receive $100 million in federal funding to address the city’s drinking water crisis after the supply was contaminated with lead.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the aid into law this week, months after it was initially approved by then-President Barack Obama and Congress. State lawmakers in recent weeks passed a bill to send the money along to Flint.

The federal aid requires a $20 million state match, which will be provided from funding already authorized last year.

The new money will be used to replace corroded pipes that leached lead and to update aging water mains and infrastructure. Water meters will be replaced and an engineering study will be done.

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