Planning for Organics Recycling in Urban and Regional Settings
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is a Platinum Member of the National Biosolids Partnership’s Environmental Management System for Biosolids Program. The use of this program, driven by Executive Team Strategic Planning, has led the District to composting its Biosolids with yard waste. In an effort to obtain necessary feedstock the District and the City of Chicago have joined in a Public Private Partnership. The city, and surrounding suburbs, have excess yard waste from tree trimming and other maintenance operations. Through its agreement with MWRDGC the city has eliminated landfill disposal costs for a portion of its yard waste program. The combination of yard waste and biosolids, generated at MWRD, has resulted in a higher quality Class A product, adding to an already award winning distribution program. The compost has low to no odor and is more aesthetically pleasing in texture and color. The high quality compost has been easier to market to end users than the Class A biosolids the District has been distributing. The partnership, and a new program to receive yard waste from smaller tree trimming contractors, have helped the District overcome various obstacles in feedstock attainability.
Now, how did the District decide to compost? The District’s Executive Director set a strategic plan, inclusive of initiatives to improve the current biosolids program through covered technology at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant, odor reduction for the program at all biosolids generating facilities and increased usage of biosolids products within the city of Chicago. The District’s Biosolids Management Team (BMT) performed an evaluation of Class A producing technologies taking into account CAPEX, OPEX, footprint, environmental impact and more. The District completed the study and concluded that composting was the best option for two of the sites. The next step was to conduct a secondary study to evaluate various composting technologies. Upon completion of two pilot studies two technologies were chosen for full scale programs at different sites.
This presentation will address the technology evaluation process and the pros and cons of each, as determined by the agency. In addition, the presentation will show how legislation, through the passing of two House Bills has helped change public perception and aided in the successful use of Biosolids derived products in Illinois, specifically the Chicagoland area.