General Assembly OKs Will County legislators’ bill to boost groundwater monitoring

The bill would increase the fee for disposing demolition debris in quarry sites

The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill which would require increased groundwater monitoring near quarry fill sites with the support of Will County area legislators.

The bill, H.B. 653, would increase the state fee for clean construction demolition debris such as concrete, brick and stone from being disposed of in quarry sites, according to a news release.

State Rep. Dagmara Avelar, D-Bolingbrook, filed the bill in the House before it passed that chamber in May. State Sen. John Connor, D-Lockport, sponsored it in the Senate before passed it May 28.

“This clean water initiative is the watchfulness that our constituents expect,” Connor said in a statement. “Increasing our vigilance to ensure that we have clean water to drink doesn’t just matter today, it will matter for generations into the future. Enforcing standards that keep our water clean means that our communities can grow and thrive for years to come.”

Connor said the bill is an initiative of the Illinois Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. If Gov. JB Pritzker signs it into law, it would allocate funding to expand teams of inspectors tasked with monitoring clean construction and demolition debris facilities.

Supporters said the increased monitoring and testing facilitated by the bill would ensure contaminants are kept out of groundwater where clean construction debris is dumped.

Concerns of contaminants have been especially prevalent in Will County, with many residents in unincorporated areas relying on groundwater near quarries. State Sen. Laura Ellaman, D-Naperville, said in a statement that Will County is home to more construction demolition debris sites than any other county in the state.

“Families who rely on groundwater will now have more measures in place to ensure the safety of their drinking water,” she said.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.