Small "Super" Device Could Hold Key to Better Soil, Water

Feb 2, 2021
Indiana News Connection

A state-of-the-art tool is helping researchers in Indiana better understand the effectiveness of soil-conservation practices.

A small device, known as a "super gauge," gathers data around-the-clock on water quality in the Wabash River in New Harmony.

Cheryl LeFevre doesn’t drink the water in Hobart, Oklahoma without a filter. Without a filter, sometimes the water smells like chlorine or rust. Sometimes, it even comes out brown. She has to clean out her filter every two weeks, with what looks like sediment inside. 

As she pours water into a glass from her kitchen on a late afternoon in December, the water comes out clear. She says it still tastes like dirty water and has an aftertaste. 

“Some days it's like this, you know, clear and just fine,” LeFevre says. “And some days it's got all of that gunk in it.” 

NPR Illinois

If you’re struggling to pay your utility bill, some Illinois gas, electric and water companies are committing to help customers through the winter.

Illinois Commerce Commission chairman Carrie Zalewski says the utilities are agreeing to a moratorium on disconnections for the cold winter months, and are offering a few other assistance options.

Clean energy advocates are crying foul after Ameren Illinois ended its solar credit program for new solar customers earlier this month, even after state regulators urged the company to hold off.

Some Illinois utilities have agreed to extend their moratorium on disconnections.

Ameren Illinois

Ameren crews from southern Illinois are on their way to the east coast to help with power restoration after Hurricane Isaias.

The pandemic and accompanying stay-at-home orders have greatly affected many regional services, including utilities.

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and the accompanying months of social distancing have greatly affected what buildings remain open, and where people spend their time. 

Modern life requires electricity, and more people at home has changed how it’s consumed.  Aleksi Paaso is the Director of Distribution Planning at ComEd.  He said the times of day in which people use the most electricity haven’t shifted, but the system’s still been affected.

Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

A four-mile natural gas pipeline from Pittsburg to Johnston City in Williamson County serves about 30-thousand customers of Ameren.

Thursday morning, the utility hosted an open house at its storage field in Johnston City, which stores the gas underground to prevent Ameren Illinois from running out of the energy source.

Ameren says it made an error in sending out a letter to nearly 900 customers in Murphysboro indicating the city was increasing its municipal utility tax rate.

A water main break is disrupting some buildings on the SIU-Carbondale campus.

Energy Assistance Applications Start In October

Sep 26, 2019

The Low-Income Energy Assistance program for Jackson, Perry, Randolph and Monroe counties will begin taking applications on October 1st. Households whose income is up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply for the program, which will send a one-time payment to the utility provider

Applications for households with elderly and disabled residents begin on October 1st. On November 1st, households with children under 6 or households facing disconnection may apply. All other households can apply starting December 1st.

National Weather Service

Ten years after the devastating May 8, 2009 Super Derecho, utility companies in this region say they're working from lessons learned. 

Legislation has been proposed in the Illinois General Assembly that would require a review of water rates statewide to ensure they are affordable and fair.

The Chicago Tribune reports the measure is sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including some representing suburbs south and west of Chicago where residents have among the state's highest water rates.

Ameren Illinois Files for a Rate Decrease

Apr 18, 2019

Ameren Illinois customers may soon see a decrease on their monthly electric bills.

Spokesperson, Marcelyn Love, says the plan for the decrease was filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission Thursday.

SafeWater Project to Hold Event in Carmi

Dec 10, 2018

The SafeWater Project is hosting a meeting in southeastern Illinois to talk about potential hazards in groundwater.

Project coordinator Tabitha Tripp says one of the biggest problems in that part of the state involves injection wells associated with the oil and gas industry.

President Donald Trump signed America's Water Infrastructure Act on Tuesday, which authorizes work on many projects around the U.S., ranging from water treatment to mitigating invasive species to transportation.

Residents and visitors in downtown Carbondale now have access to free Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is now available along Illinois Avenue between the Town Square Pavilion and Friendship Plaza.

Senior citizens and people with disabilities can soon start applying for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program - or LIHEAP.

Local agencies will begin scheduling appointments and accepting applications for winter heating assistance on October 1st.

Saturday, August 11th 2018, marks an awareness day for utilities across the country.

Jackson Co. Health Dept.

The Jackson County Health Department is looking for Jackson County residents using private well water to participate in free water testing.

Director of the Division of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness Bart Hagston says the research project is gathering data on the presence of lead in private water wells.

Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Ameren Illinois is trying to help people in the area beat the heat this summer.

The utility Thursday donated 50 window air conditioners to the Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council office in Murphysboro.

An official with the Rend Lake Conservancy District says the plant has been able to keep pace with demand and keep all tanks and towers filled since repairing a water main break.

General Counsel Larry Sanders says there are small leaks, which is common in all water systems. Sanders says no breaks have occurred in the system and all leaks are minor. He says no leak currently warrants doing anything more than monitoring.

While the water shortage with the Rend Lake Conservancy District is improving, the City of Anna is dealing with two water main breaks.


(Updated: 11:00am 5/18/2018) -- The broken water line at the Rend Lake Conservancy District has been repaired.

The Intercity Water Plant is pumping water into the system with two high service pumps. The lake intake and the treatment plant have returned to service.

The system will be on a boil water order until Intercity Water receives test results showing the water is safe to drink.

Some schools and businesses are shutting down after a major water main break at the Rend Lake Conservancy District.

Ameren has agreed to disclose its plans to reduce the environmental and health risks of coal ash in Illinois and Missouri.

Company shareholders narrowly approved a proposal requiring Ameren to disclose any water contamination at its current and former coal plants during its annual meeting in Peoria Thursday.

Ameren will conduct a planned power outage starting late Tuesday night in the Franklin County village of West City.


A marine biologist and bestselling author is in Carbondale as part of a series of documentaries he's making on the power of water.

Wallace J. Nichols' is basing the series on his book entitled  Blue Mind, which examines the effects of water on our health and well-being.

Utilities across the country are taking time this week to warn customers about the threat of scammers.

Egyptian Electric Cooperative

A crew of four lineman from Egyptian Electric Cooperative in southern Illinois is helping restore power in the southeast after Hurricane Irma.

Before the hurricane made land, the local crew was sent to Alma, Georgia. The Egyptian Electric linemen are Ronnie Gill, Robbie Knop, Matt McElroy and Cody Lee.