Residents of Homer, Oakwood, St. Joe, and other villages near the Salt Fork River corridor could be affected by a decision soon to be made by the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District.
Each day the UCSD releases treated water in the Saline Branch, which flows to the Salt Fork River. People in Vermilion and Champaign counties have come to rely on these releases for drinking water, recreation and fish and wildlife habitat.
Recently, the district asked for citizen input on the possibility of selling water to two industries that are intensely water consumptive. Both proposals would affect water quality and water levels in the Salt Fork River. First, a proposed coal mine near Homer by Colorado-based Hallador Energy Inc., wants a 500,000 gallons per day to wash coal, a process that generates more toxic chemicals than you have fingers to count, starting with arsenic, lead and mercury. Giving Hallador (the proposed Bulldog Mine) the water it wants will change water quality and water levels.
The other request is for a urea plant in Douglas County. It would need more than 6 million gallons per day, some of which would come from the water being released into the Salt Fork River, and, once again, affecting the biological and recreational aspects of the stream adversely.
The decision will be made soon by the three trustees of the Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District: Diana Lenik (firstname.lastname@example.org); Jerry Lyke (email@example.com); and Jennifer Putman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please let them know how you feel as soon as possible.