Cambridge's village board decides not to drill new well

Lisa Hammer
First and second grade students sing karaoke during Entertainment Night Friday, June 20. This was one of several things offered during the Summer Park Program this year.

    An old albatross will keep costing money, and it won't be a new recreation spot just when gas is high and local trails would be valued.

    Cambridge Village officials have decided against spending $11,000 for a new groundwater monitoring well at the former landfill, Mayor Dwaine Van Meenen said at a recent refuse committee meeting.

    Earlier this year the village learned the state would require ongoing monitoring. The new well would have been a gamble that the    results would give an all-clear from additional monitoring.

    The landfill closed in 1993 and officials had hoped to stop monitoring, which costs over $10,000 a year for lab analysis. When it was thought the 15-year post-closure period was about to end, officials had talked about the possibility of having a walking/biking trail at the former landfill, whose only access is in a commercial zone on Rt. 81. There is no access from a more residential area on East Street.

    The four or five existing monitoring wells currently circle the property's perimeter and could reflect runoff from somewhere else. A new one placed right at the center may have shown what's coming out of the landfill, if anything.

    However, village officials expressed concern that results would not have been definitive, or would have prompted the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to require even more monitoring in existing wells around the circumference of the property.

    The landfill wells are 30 feet deep. The village's drinking water wells pull from hundreds of feet deep, according to village engineer Scott Kammerman of Missman, Stanley and Associates.

    According to Kammerman, recent tests show lead and manganese are present at the landfill at levels that exceed ground water standards.

    The lead concentrations are below drinking water standards of .0075 milligrams per liter, but above the up-gradient ground water    concentration, which is the IEPA's concern. Manganese exceeds the drinking water standard of 0.15 mg/L, which Kammerman said is more of an aesthetic issue (porcelain staining), than a real health concern. Atrazine and nitrates are also present. Total nitrates are detected at levels of approximately 0.018 mg/L, primarily in MW#5, according to the engineer.

    Atrazine is present at 0.003 mg/L and nitrates are measured at 0.001 mg/L, both suspected to be the result of agricultural activities, according to Kammerman. He said atrazine has shown up one time in the testing in April of 2006 at 0.001 mg/L and it's not believed it poses a serious health threat.

    Also at the recent committee meeting, public safety committee members renewed their commitment to taking action on the overabundance of cats in downtown Cambridge, noting a dog on a leash was attacked by a cat and ended up with injuries that  were serious enough to cause scabs. A meeting was set for late June between downtown business owners and people feeding outdoor cats.