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Local News


County Board Hears Update on Eagle Zinc Cleanup

Fri, 13 Jul 2018 09:00:45 CDT

Members of the Environmental Protection Agency at both the State and Federal levels gave an update Tuesday morning on the progress of the Eagle Zinc cleanup in Hillsboro.

Illinois EPA Project Manager Nicole Wilson and US EPA member Margaret Gielniewski spoke to the Montgomery County Board about the cleanup progress that has been made at the site, which was used for smelting and manufacturing of sulfuric acid, zinc oxide and leaded zinc oxide up until 2003.

Gielniewski said they have conducted daily air monitoring in order to make sure the area located near Schram City remains safe. Wilson said work is going well, but one of the challenges workers have faced is the amount of concrete structures located underground. She said they anticipated structures underground, but not to the degree in which they are being discovered.

Gielniewski said the group has focused on the western most portion of the site when monitoring the air quality since it is next to a residential area. Board member Ron Deabenderfer asked if people playing and visiting the Hillsboro Sports Complex have been affected at all by the cleanup. Gielniewski said they had not been, adding that the sensitivity of the monitors they use is very high. She noted that the only factors that have triggered their alarms to this point have been work from an adjacent lumber yard and mowing.

According to Wilson, the contract for cleaning up the site runs through December 31, but work will most likely continue into March or April.

During committee briefings, the Board voted to give $10,000 to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation as part of a county school study. The money, which is half of what is needed to fund a school study, will be used to hire a consultant to look into improvements that can be made to schools in order to make Montgomery County more attractive. One possible outcome includes consolidating at least two current school districts.

Board member Dr. Robert Mulch, who also chairs the MCEDC board of directors, said he and other volunteers from Hillsboro, Litchfield and Raymond were motivated by concerns brought forth by Jim Hewitt of Allscripts. Earlier this year, Hewitt told the board that he was having a hard time getting Allscripts employees to relocate to the county because of the state of the schools, in addition to high property taxes and a lack of quality, affordable housing.

The board unanimously approved the measure, and the remainder of the roughly $20,000 needed to fund the study will be obtained via fundraising.

708 Board liaison Earlene Robinson briefed the board on funds that had been approved by her committee.

Four of the funding applications will be made in quarterly payments. They include FAYCO Enterprises for $194,000 for the Fiscal Year, the Montgomery County Health Department for $244,280, the Litchfield School District for $55,000, and the Panhandle School District for $42,420.

Payments that will be made one time to organizations for the fiscal year include the Continuing Recovery Center for $3,000, The Autism Support Connection for $6,500, the Unified Child Advocacy Network for $15,000, and Standing Against Addiction and Drugs for $35,000. In total, Robinson said the 708 Board awarded $595,200 in grant money for this fiscal year.

The next Montgomery County Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14, at 8:30 a.m.


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