Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For more information read the IDNR press release and Asian carp FAQ.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
For more information read the USGS news release and their Red Dye Studies FAQ.
Monday, November 2, 2009
There will also be two study sessions to solicit public comment on the Watershed Management Ordinance. The first meeting will be this Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 7:00pm at Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook Illinos. The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7:00pm at Maine West High School, 1755 South Wolf Road, Des Plaines, Illinois.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Watch the 'Global Handwashing Dance' public service announcement, choreographed and performed by Kaiji Moriyama to promote improved hygiene for children in Japan and worldwide.
Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent the spread of diseases and illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and the H1N1 infuenza virus. It is one of the most affordable and effective interventions to prevent needless deaths of children under the age of five.
The UNICEF Japan initiative has two objectives: to promote proper handwashing and to raise awareness about the problem of children dying of preventable diseases.
A global movement
Children from Cambodia, China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar and Timor-Leste participated in a second video spot that is being shown on digital billboards in Japan.
By featuring these children from across the globe, the spot illustrates how handwashing with soap has become a worldwide movement. It is hoped that the video will foster a sense of camaraderie among children in different countries and regions.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
My only comment on this project is that they are ignoring an important piece of the puzzle. Not only should we highlight the lack of clean drinking water, but the lack of adequate sanitation in many areas around the world. 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation and this problem goes hand in hand with the lack of clean drinking water. Adequate sanitation can drastically cut down on disease and save lives just like, if not more so than access to clean water. When you think about clean water also think about where that water goes after you make it dirty, or where our waste goes after we flush it down the toilet. Many areas in the world not only need clean drinking water, but also access to a sanitation system: two things we can take for granted.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
As a Commissioner at the MWRDGC, I deal primarily with treating wastewater and protecting the quality of our water here in the greater Chicago area. I recognize, however, that the quality of water here affects the quality of water everywhere in North America and even the world. That's why it's important to work together on a local and global level to protect our resources. I was truly honored to meet with these Mexican Dignitaries to discuss global environemnt issues and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with them.
From Left to Right: Diputado (similar to a United States State rep. or Senator) Rafael Candelas Salinas, Commissioner Frank Avila, Diputado Federal (similar to a Federal Congressperson) Carlos Alberto Puente Salas, and Presidente Municipal (Mayor) Alfredo Bueno.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
For more information on this program please click here.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
In addition, the Board will be holding a public hearing at 12:00 p.m. This hearing will allow public comments on a proposed $600 million bond issue which would allow the District to renovate aging facilities while also building new pumping stations and sewers.
Board Meeting Schedule 2009
December 1 (Annual Meeting)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
This picture shows the biosolids being emptied into the Lagoons at LASMA. Storing in lagoons is the first step of processing the biosolids at LASMA. The biosolids are stored in the lagoons to further reduce volatile organic compounds and pathogens.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On May 20th, 2009, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago welcomed newly elected public office holders and their top managers from throughout the District for the "Meet 'n Greet & Nuts 'n Bolts" Forum at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant. The forum allowed the public officials to meet the Board of Commissioners and some of the District's senior staff, while also providing them with an overview of the ways in which the District strives to protect Lake Michigan and the Chicago Area Waterways.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Board Meeting Schedule 2009
December 1 (Annual Meeting)
Friday, May 15, 2009
Currently, there is a discussion over the best way to get rid of biosolids. This article explores the present biosolids situation -- how although using biosolids for fertilizer is an attractive solution, there are environmental concerns as to the chemicals found in biosolids. Further, the article probes if there are more desirable ways to recycle biosolids such as converting it into energy.
Related to the power of biosolids, below are two articles that also explore, well, what do do with our poop. First, this article in the Chicago Reader about a local woman, Nancy Klehm, who started a poop composting project. And this article, which delves into whether disposing of poop in our water is the best practice.
For more information click here.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A few board meetings ago, Boy Scout Michael Frank was honored by the board for his wonderful rain barrel eagle scout service project. Michael wanted to do a service project that would benefit the environment and chose to focus on water conservation by installing rain barrels in his community of River Forest. For more information on his great project click here.
Also, related to the topic of rain barrels, my articulate and thoughtful colleague, Commissioner Debra Shore, wrote a thought provoking piece entitled A Day Without Water on The Huffington Post awhile back about our dependence on water and how we should take steps to be more responsible with this precious resource.
It's easy to take water for granted and frown on a rainy day, but remember that all water even rain water is a precious gift that we can't live without!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
1) The completion of the capital improvement project at the District Water Reclamation Plants. These upgrades will allow the District to maintain our status as a world leader in wastewater treatment.
2) Preventing the entry of pharmaceutical drugs into watersheds by encouraging healthy lifestyles which would decrease the need for pharmaceutical use and, therefore, also decrease the amount of pharmaceutical disposal.
3) The construction of permanent hazardous products collection buildings at our District wastewater treatment plants giving the public the opportunity to dispose of their hazardous household products in a convenient, environmentally friendly way every day of the week.
4) Encouraging organic farming, landscaping, and other efforts to reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful fertilizers that increase non-point source pollution in our state, therefore assisting the District in protecting our water environment.
5) Encouraging water conservation efforts with an emphasis on the District leading the way as a role model for the rest of the community. This has already begun through various projects including the District’s prairie restoration project and rain barrel sales, which act to conserve and make use of valuable rain water. These efforts can continue through educational programs, such as a localized version of WEFTeach, which would bring teachers from community schools to the District for educational programs concerning wastewater treatment and water conservation. These teachers can then take that information back to their classrooms, helping educate the next generation of environmental professionals.
6) Bringing together religious groups and organizations based on a common belief in the importance of environmental stewardship. By combining their resources, these organizations can better achieve their common environmental goals.
7) Encouraging amendments to water regulations, such as the Clean Water Act non-point source regulations, that have reached a level of stagnation in their water improvement goals.
The first line of defense against the spread of disease is to wash your hands. This is an easy yet important habit that helps keep people healthy and happy. You should regularly wash your hands before and after eating or handling food, after coughing and sneezing, after touching animals, and after using the bathroom.
Please watch this public service announcement I made that teaches children the importance of washing their hands. Treating wastewater and washing hands go hand-in-hand -- they both help prevent the spread of disease!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
In response to this disclosure, I sent a letter to the editors of a number of newspapers around the Chicago area. Though the letter was not published, I would like to share it with you now:
The recent revelation that the residents of Crestwood have been exposed to harmful chemicals in their drinking water for over twenty years highlights an all-too-present problem. Whether it is through ignorance or indifference, officials at every level of government have been under-reacting to environmental concerns that have the potential to cause serious harm to individuals and communities.
Though the case in Crestwood is more dramatic and immediately dangerous than most environmental issues, the lack of accurate and clear public information is an unsettling trend. I believe that government officials who hold information regarding environmental hazards from the public should have to answer for their dereliction of duty. When knowing disregard for human health and safety is carried out by individuals or corporations they pay heavy prices for their actions through large fines and, in severe cases, possible imprisonment. Government officials who put the community in equally dangerous positions by withholding information from the public or regulatory agencies should be held similarly accountable for their actions.
Governor Quinn has taken quick action in Crestwood, calling for an investigation into possible improprieties and the Illinois Attorney General’s office is looking into the matter, but the underlying issues still remain. Until we begin assigning true accountability to the people who hold this vital public information, until we begin making clear statements that environmental dangers should always be public knowledge, nothing will be done and we will be left with no recourse, just a blind hope for honesty.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Right now I would like to quickly introduce myself to all of you. I grew up on the Near West Side of Chicago before going on to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana where I received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I then completed my Master of Science in Finance from the University of Arizona before coming back to the Chicago area. After amassing over 40 years of experience as an engineer and land surveyor, including 26 years during which I owned and operated an engineering company, I was elected to the MWRD. Currently, I live in Chicago with my lovely wife, Sherry. Sherry and I have three children, all of whom are also Chicago residents.
I was re-elected to a second term as Commissioner in November of 2008 and I look forward to continuing to partake in the invaluable work that the MWRD does every day, protecting our water environment. I would like to use this space to help inform the public about environmental issues that face our city, state and nation. I will also post updated information on the work that I am doing, both as an elected official for the MWRD and as a citizen concerned with environmental stewardship.
Please check back in often to get the most recent updates on the issues, my work, and other fun things we happen to think are of interest.
For more information about the MWRD, please visit http://mwrd.org/. Thank you all for your time and support. Hopefully I will see you back here very soon.