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Gas company speaks out after contaminating Mahomet's drinking water

A gas company responsible for contaminating the drinking water of a number of Mahomet families held its first town hall Tuesday. (WCCU)

A gas company responsible for contaminating the drinking water of a number of Mahomet families held its first town hall Tuesday. Peoples Gas addressed a natural gas leak that happened last December. Dozens of Mahomet residents were at the town hall demanding answers from the gas company.

"I live in this area, my children come to visit, my grandchildren come to visit I want to make sure things are safe for them," one Mahomet resident said during the meeting. "Lack of notification was a big red flag for me and I think what that does is it encourages distrust."

The gas leak was coming from Manlove Field after one of the gas wells leaked. The field is an underground natural gas storage facility that has 153 natural gas wells.

"Once we found out that there was a leak back in December and it was determined that there might be a leak underground we immediately stopped the leak and also capped that and made sure it was no longer in use," a spokesperson for Peoples Gas, Brian Manthey said. "We contacted all the federal, state and local agencies and we went to the immediate area that some of the residents were closest to where that well had a leak."

The company said it is still unknown how long the gas leak occurred. Initially, the company claimed only five private residential water wells were impacted but admitted Tuesday the contamination is more wide-spread. After testing 70 private water wells, they said at least seven of them were contaminated.

Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against Peoples Gas in October.

"I did not appreciate finding out about this nine months after it happened by looking at somebody's youtube video," state senator, Rose Chapin said. "I mean I think everybody here is a little frosted and that's probably the nicest way to put it that no one knew about that and there will be some legislation coming this spring about notice and how that all works."

Peoples Gas provided bottled water, installed methane detection devices and gas water separators for families impacted.

The company said they encourage Mahomet residents to call them with any questions or concerns.

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