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Water/Waste Processing e-News / Municipal

Chicago tree debris to help compost biosolids from wastewater

August 05, 2014
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The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has entered into a new agreement with the city of Chicago for supply of tree debris to be used as a bulking agent to compost biosolids generated by wastewater processing.

Under an intergovernmental agreement announced on Thursday, the city of Chicago will deliver approximately 3,000 truckloads of wood chips to MWRD's biosolids program at the Calumet Solids Management Area over the next three years.

The wood chips, which are created during the regular operations of tree trimming and tree removal by the Chicago Bureau of Forestry, will be mixed with biosolids and then composted into organic material for use as a substitute for fertilizer and compost. This material, in turn, will be used to help maintain or establish turf grass in parks, athletic fields and public access areas throughout Cook County, Illinois.

According to MWRD, biosolids are an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fertilizer. As well as establishing and maintaining turf at parks and athletic fields, biosolids can also be used in landscaping and for growing agricultural crops.

MWRD and the City of Chicago said that this agreement allows the city to efficiently and effectively recycle wood chips for reuse in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

In addition, the partnership supports MWRD's efforts as it works toward a zero waste Chicago, commented Kathleen Therese Meany, MWRD president.

MWRD is responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County. Each year it produces 165,000 tons of biosolids for reuse.

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