Government Officials and Staff Engage in Conversations about Nutrient Management
Cook County governmental officials and staff engaged in conversations regarding nutrient treatment and recovery. Participants toured the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, which can treat up to 1.44 billion gallons of water daily. The plant treats effluent from Chicago and 46 suburban communities. Through a partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies and Black & Veatch, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) operates the largest nutrient recovery facility in the world. Using Ostara’s technology, the plant can remove phosphorus and nitrogen to create a high value fertilizer. The plant can produce up to 10,000 tons per year.
Participants also toured MWRD’s Harlem Avenue compost treatment site. The site co-composts biosolids, a product of the water treatment process, and wood chips from Chicago area municipalities and landscaping companies. Using an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved process, MWRD mixes wood chips and biosolids before stacking the product in windrows. The windrows are turned and cured before being screened to ensure that the compost is a consistent and even textured premium product.
Staff Exchange participants also traveled to Smits Farm a family owned and operated business. Over the past 25-years Smits Farms has grown from a single greenhouse and a family of two to thirteen greenhouses and a family of eight. To conserve nutrients, Smits Farms utilizes compost and innovative farming techniques.
Throughout the program, participants explored and discussed nutrient reduction strategies and the impact of these strategies on the environment and waterways.
Since 2012, over 140 officials and staff have participated in the Staff Exchange Program.