Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Goals

Photo: I'm being sworn in by the Honorable Edmund Ponce de Leon.

As a recently re-elected Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, I feel that it is important to inform the public of my goals for this new term. Below is an excerpt from the speech I gave at my Installation Ceremony on December 2, 2008 that summarizes my priorities for the next six years.

There are many issues facing the water environment in our District, our state, and our nation today. As a commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, newly re-elected to a second term, I believe that while it is important to create water quality improvement goals at national and global levels, stewardship of our water environment must begin by acting locally. I have a number of goals for my second term as a commissioner of the Water Reclamation District. I would like to share several of these priorities with you, which are aimed at further increasing the quality of the water environment within our District:

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.

With these goals in mind, I believe that we can build a better water environment for our families and our community.

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