Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Water at the Field Museum

I want to encourage everyone to go visit the Water Exhibition at the Field Museum. The exhibit is an informative and eye-opening look at one of our most precious resources -- water. There is also a great short film in the exhibit that a number of MWRDGC staff helped create, which explores what happens to water before it comes out the faucet and after it goes down the drain. In the picture above I am standing outside the Water Exhibit with Nancy from the Nutrition for Optimal Health Association and Mary Beth from Green Parents Network. Below are some more pictures from the reception I attended for the Water Exhibit.

Here I am with the Executive Director of the Field Museum, Commissioner Patricia Horton, Mary Beth from GPN and Nancy from NOHA.

Here we are again standing with a beautifully painted rain barrel.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Calumet-Sag Trail Groundbreaking

I attended the Calumet-Sag Trail Dedication Ceremony on Saturday, June 6, 2009. The Calumet-Sag Trail is a multi-use path built along the banks of the Calumet-Sag Channel and Calumet River that spans 32-miles and crosses 14 communities from Lemont to Burnham, Illinois. The trail should be officially open by 2012. This trail will not only connect communities but will provide these communities with a place to go to explore the outdoors, to walk, jog, bicycle, and appreciate nature. For more information on the Calumet-Sag Trail please visit the Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail Website.

Here I am with Executive Director of the MWRDGC, Richard Lanyon.

Here I am with other members of the community at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Here I am next to one of the MWRDGC's sidestream elevated pool aeration (SEPA) stations. There are numerous SEPA stations located along the Calumet-Sag Channel. These SEPA stations or waterfalls were designed both to enhance the surrounding scenery and to improve the quality of the water. The Calumet-Sag Trail will also provide us with both enhanced scenery and a better quality of life. Just like our SEPA stations improve water quality by exercising the water to provide dissolved oxygen to stagnant water which allows fish and wildlife to flourish, the Cal-Sag trail will provide a better quality of life by providing communities a place to exercise, which helps keep people healthy and joyful.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Park District Eco Day Camps

This summer, the Chicago Park District is offering great eco-centric day camps, allowing our youth an opportunity to get outdoors and appreciate nature through kayaking, nature walks and fishing. The children will also participate in games and activities related to the environment.

For more information on this program please click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Board Meeting and Public Hearing

At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 3, 2009, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District will be holding its bi-monthly board meeting in the board room at 100 East Erie. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

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
May 21
June 4
June 18
July 9
August 6
September 3
September 17
October 1
October 15
November 5
November 19
December 1 (Annual Meeting)
December 3
December 17

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

President Lech Walesa

I attended the dedication of Lech Walesa Hall at Northeastern Illinois University. Lech Walesa, former President of Poland and recepient of the Noble Peace Prize, visited Northeastern Illinois University for the dedication and celebration. Lech Walesa played a major role in the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Lech Walesa's exemplary courage, vision, and dedication to human rights has been a great inspiration worldwide. As the City of Chicago is home to the largest Polish population outside of Poland itself, I was proud to attend this building dedication and to have the honor of meeting Lech Walesa.

Lawndale Avenue Solids Management Area (LASMA)

I recently visited the Lawndale Avenue Solids Management Area (LASMA). LASMA is where treated biosolids from our water reclamation plants undergo further processing . As I explained in a previous post, biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage. At the wastewater treatment plants, raw sludge is processed in anaerobic digesters to reduce volatile organic compounds and pathogens. After the digesttion process, the biosolids are than either transported directly to the LASMA lagoons via a pipeline or piped to the centrifuge facility to undergo mechanical dewatering. After the centrifuge operation, the dewatered biosolids are transported to LASMA by either truck or train. The biosolids are processed further at LASMA to become a more suitable product for benefical reuse. For more information on the MWRD's biosolids program click here. Below are some pictures I took when I visited LASMA.

Above is a picture of the train that transports the dewatered biosolids from the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant to LASMA.

Here is another picture of the dewatered biosolids on the train.

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.

This is a lagoon that is just starting to be filled up with biosolids. The biosolids are typically stored in the lagoons for a minimum of 18 months.

The pictures above and below show another lagoon.

The biosolids are then removed from the lagoons by a crane with a clamshell bucket and are transported by truck to a drying site.

Here is a picture of the crane that transports the biosolids.

This is a picture of the clamshell bucket that retrieves the biosolids from the lagoon.

The biosolids from the lagoon are placed on the asphalt drying site. Here I am pointing at the drying area. Once dried, biosolids are ready for utilization as farmland application, landfill cover, and construction and topdressing of parks and recreation facilities.