Water Online

January 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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in 2018, the goal is to sell 100,000 tons. At this time, the plan is to charge $30 per cubic yard, and recipients must complete a short application. Partnership With The City of Chicago In 2013, before implementation of the Resource Recovery Ordinance, the MWRD partnered with the City of Chicago to share tens of thousands of cubic yards of wood chips as a bulking agent for composting MWRD biosolids; the wood chips derive from 13 million ash trees lost in the city due to the emerald ash borer devastation. Because the mixing ratio is 3:1 wood chips to biosolids, the compost blend requires a steady flow of wood chips, yard waste, and other feedstock. The compost has a greater range of uses than either resource alone and helps reduce the city's landscaping costs. Biosolids Composting Operations Process The biosolids composting operations are located at the MWRD's Harlem Avenue Solids Management Area (HASMA) in Lyons, IL, and Calumet Solids Management Area (CALSMA) on Chicago's south side. The composting process raises the temperature of the biosolids and wood chip mixture, killing off pathogens and meeting the USEPA Part 503 regulations for Class A biosolids pathogen reduction. The windrows are turned five times over 23 days, and the temperature is maintained at 55 degrees Celsius. Following the composting process, the product is left in open windrows for curing to complete the stabilization process. The final product is screened to remove large pieces of wood chips before distribution. Yard Waste Collection Efforts Finding feedstock to create the compost has become a priority for the MWRD. There is not an endless supply of wood chips or trees so the new Resource Recovery Ordinance helps bridge that gap. The ordinance allows the MWRD to develop a program to collect wood chips and yard waste to blend in the compost process. To recover costs, the MWRD will charge a tipping fee of $20 per cubic ton to receive feedstock and create a new revenue stream through the sale of composted biosolids. Serving a large area means there is a wide base from which to search for this feedstock. The MWRD is reaching out to area landscaping contractors and tree-trimming companies, waste haulers, utility companies that trim trees, area paper mills, municipalities, and park districts. The MWRD is also installing a composting facility, which requires less energy than heat drying, at CALSMA. The composting facility will be a covered positive aeration system and will have the capacity to process 25,000 dry tons of biosolids per year. The process will require a 1:3 biosolids to feedstock mix ratio by volume and one temperature probe per pile, and necessary equipment includes mixers, loaders, and screeners. Additional market analysis will be performed to determine demand and potential revenue from the sale of the finished product, which is proving to meet the MWRD's strategic goals in producing a Class A material, reducing and eliminating odors during solids management procedures, reducing transportation, creating readily available end- use products independent of weather variation, reducing operational land requirement and carbon footprints, increasing solids distribution within Cook County, and ensuring financial and environmental sustainability with a potential revenue stream. The goal is to achieve 70 percent local utilization by 2017 and 100 percent by 2018. The future for generating income for the taxpayers of Cook County through biosolids composting is bright. More information about MWRD biosolids and composted biosolids is available by calling (708) 588-4201. n 30 wateronline.com n Water Innovations BIOSOLIDSMANAGEMENT Allison Hirsch Fore has served as the public & intergovernmental affairs officer at the MWRD for five years. She has more than 20 years' experience in government communications, having also worked for the Illinois State Treasurer, Illinois General Assembly, Indiana Secretary of State, and Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. About The Author The MWRD partnered with ChicaGRO Intergenerational Growing Project to help convert more than 70 vacant Chicago neighborhood lots into back- yard community gardens that use MWRD's new compost in planting beds and growing vegetables. MWRD biosolids were used to fertilize and green Chicago's Ping Tom Memorial Park.

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