5th & Hill

Five minutes north of the engineering quad of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Fifth and Hill neighborhood is a residential area which is made up of a predominantly African American, working class population. Despite being minutes away from the multi-billion dollar institution, the neighborhood is facing an environmental crisis, as a toxic site sits at its center.

For years, the community has been fighting against the energy company, Ameren, to clean up the toxic waste site their company has contributed to. While Ameren has done some clean-up (only after being confronted by residents in the 5th and Hill Community Rights Campaign), test results show that toxic waste still remains on the edge of many residents' properties. Ameren and the city have not done any testing on the residential lots, but it stands to reason that ground water has carried the chemicals and spread them throughout the neighborhood.

Many residents currently abiding in the area have dealt with sickness and life threatening diseases likely caused by the volatile organic compunds that are released into the air from the contaminated groundwater. The Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) and the Fifth & Hill Community Rights Campaign have been working for the past 12 years trying to deliver justice and reparations to the community residents.