Illinois: Pekin - Wellhead Protection for Shallow Wells


   Pekin, Illinois is a community rich in agricultural and industrial heritage. It is located in
   the west central portion of the state, on the east bank of the Illinois River. Pekin's
   topography is marked by river bluffs, rolling hills, mature wooded areas and several
   man-made lakes. Pekin (pop.  33,200) serves as the seat of Tazewell County (pop.
   125,000), and is considered part of the Peoria metropolitan market area (total pop.
   345,000). Nearly eighty percent of the land in the county is devoted to some form of
   agriculture. Pekin residents enjoy a high quality of life as a result of serene residential
   settings, natural scenic landscapes, a low crime rate, a moderate pace of activity,
   community spirit, and proximity to metropolitan areas.  In addition, the community is
   particularly proud of their medical facilities, public parks, and public education system,

   Seven wells provide Pekin with 100% of its drinking water. These are relatively shallow
   wells in sandy soil, ranging from a well depth of 90 to 154 feet deep. Because Pekin's
   wells are shallow and the soils are highly permeable, the water supply is highly
   vulnerable to contamination from any pollutant discharge in the recharge areas.

   Priority Contamination Threat

   Nonpoint and point source pollution in the recharge area is the priority contamination

   Local Involvement and Developing the Protection Plan

   Although well sampling (as a part of the Illinois Statewide  Ground Water Monitoring
   Program) revealed no ground water contamination, the Pekin City Council appointed a
   "Ground Water Guardian Team" to protect the community's water supply. Pekin's ten
   member Ground Water Guardian Team consists of two citizens, one educator, four
   representatives from government,  and three business/agriculture  representatives.

   To date, the Team's accomplishments include:

          The formation of a Ground Water Education Committee to implement the
            recommendations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Pilot Needs
            Assessment. The Education Committee sets up informational booths at a
            variety of conferences, business expositions and community fairs. The
            educators also give presentations to classes within the Pekin school system
            and conduct an annual field trip for  5th graders.

          The installation of street signs that mark the boundaries of well recharge areas
            and alert citizens to the location of sensitive recharge areas.

          The creation and implementation of a ground water protection ordinance to
            regulate land uses within ground water sensitive  areas.  Pekin's Protection Area
            Ordinance (see next  section for details) can be found on-line at
Office of Water (4606M)                       816F100011                               January 2010

   Management Measures

   In 1995, Pekin's Ground Water Protection Area Ordinance was approved by the City
   Council. The City of Pekin and the Illinois EPA prepared the ordinance using other state
   ordinances as a guide.

   The ordinance plays a significant role in land use decisions in Pekin as it is consulted
   every time a building permit is issued. Furthermore, the ordinance triggers additional
   reviews by entities such as the State Fire Marshall.

   Specifically, the Ordinance does the following:

          Delineates Ground Water Protection Areas/Zones in the city;

          Lists prohibited uses and activities in ground water sensitive areas;

          Establishes setbacks and other regulations in ground water-sensitive areas;

          Specifies facilities that are obligated to comply with the ordinance;

          Specifies the review process of proposed activities and land uses;

          Conveys guidelines and conditions for obtaining operating permits (including the
           provision of adequate containment devices and the development of a regulated
           substance management plan);

          Specifies the reporting process for unauthorized releases and the responsibilities
           of the landowner;

          Specifies the powers and  authority of the City to enforce the provisions of the

          Specifies the creation and obligations of the Ground Water Appeals Committee
           to hear petitions for exemption from the Ordinance; and

          Specifies "Best Management Practices" for the construction industry regarding
           ground water protection.

   Contingency Planning

   A Contingency  Plan has been developed by the city fire department and the local water
   company to  provide an emergency response plan in the event of a hazardous or special
   waste spill in a well recharge area. The contingency plan describes how to control and
   minimize the impact of contamination, and delineates how emergency supplies of
   drinking water will be provided to the community. The City of Pekin is in close proximity
   to neighboring communities and water districts, thus connections to those systems is
   possible in the event of contamination.

   Measuring Program Effectiveness
Office of Water (4606M)                       816F100011                               January 2010

   The effectiveness of the City of Pekins' Ground Water Protection Program is exemplified
   by the fact that any proposed land uses within ground water sensitive areas are now
   closely examined to determine their impact on ground water. As an outgrowth of the
   Needs Assessment, the Water Company has made some improvements to its treatment
   system. Furthermore, several businesses within the recharge areas have disconnected
   drywells and now dispose of that waste into Pekins' sanitary sewer system.


   Dennis Kief
   Pekin City Manager
   (309) 477-2328
Office of Water (4606M)                       816F100011                              January 2010