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Residents, Lawyers Still Looking For Answers After Natural Gas Leak

Mark Schultz
Illinois Public Radio


More than 100 residents now know more about a natural gas leak in rural Champaign County, and lawyers representing homeowners with contaminated wells are looking for more answers.

Jim Spiros of Spiros Law presented an informational meeting Monday night about a natural gas leak at a Peoples Gas storage unit located in a rural area north of Mahomet off of Route 47, between Mahomet and Fisher.

Peoples Gas says it discovered the leak on December 6, 2016, and that the company contained the leak a few days later. But the leak contaminated at least five private water wells.

Spiros wants to know the extent of damage the gas leak caused.

"When did the leak start and how long did it go unnoticed? I’m sure they have a system in place, I would hope, where they keep track of the wells and the condition of the wells. I’m interested to find that information out," Spiros said.

After the meeting, several lawyers from Spiros Law met with concerned residents to answer questions and hear their concerns.

Spiros Law has built a webpage with information they have compiled about the gas leak.

According to Spiros Law, the natural gas from this well is odorless. The gas is treated with a sulfur smell before it is distrubuted, but the natural gas from this well had not yet been treated with that odor.

A video on the Spiros site shows water from a well contaminated by the natural gas being lit on fire as it comes out of a faucet.

Larry Harris lives near the area in question. He says he hopes Peoples Gas takes care of the people impacted by the leak.

“Because it does affect the selling of the house if you ever want to sell it," Harris said. "If people think you have bad wells you’re going to have a hard time selling your house.”

In a statement to WILL on October 6, People’s Gas stated that their workers reacted quickly to contain the leak. People’s Gas also states that it has worked closely with the families affected by the leak to provide bottled water and water-gas separators to the home owners who want it.

Note: This story has been clarified to attribute the timeline around December 6 to People's Gas.