Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson (balance), United States

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson (balance), United States
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News Article | May 16, 2017

A $427-million redesign and modernization of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant is about a year away from converting the facility to larger primary settling tanks and a cleaner aerated grit facility. Those steps will also make it the greenest sewage and stormwater treatment plant in the area. Sprawling across 413 acres in Cicero, Ill., just southwest of Chicago, the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant processes around 700 million gallons of storm and wastewater per day on average, but has the capacity to treat 1.2 billion gallons. The Stickney plant serves 2.38 million people over 260 square miles, including most of Chicago and 43 suburban communities. It’s one of six wastewater treatment plants and 23 pumping stations in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). Stickney is the largest wastewater treatment plant in the world. “It probably always will be the largest because no one in their right mind would build one this big today,” says Peter Nielsen, senior project manager for the joint venture general contractor IHC Construction of Elgin, Ill., and F.H. Paschen S.N. of Chicago, which is nearing the end of the $224-million tank and aerated grit facility modernization project. “If, say, Columbus, Ohio, somehow grew to the population size and density of Chicago, you would not build this large of a facility. They’d just build several smaller ones all around the area. The land was available when it was built and the technology at the time was all put in one place.” Stickney is actually two contiguous plants that went online more than 80 years ago. The western section came into service in 1927, while the southwest section followed six years later; both are named for the areas of Chicago they serve. The problem that design engineer Greeley & Hansen had to tackle in the redesign was that the 1930s technology the expansive double plant depends on had long ago surpassed its useful life. Between 2003 and 2005, the engineer collaborated with Black & Veatch on a master plan, which is currently at Phase 2 of its implementation. The IHC/F.H. Paschen joint venture began Phase 2 construction in January 2015 and is targeting completion by April 2018. To clean and reuse all that wastewater, Stickney previously used 108 Imhoff tanks in three batteries across the property. Named for the German engineer that invented them, Karl Imhoff, the tanks clarify sewage by simple settling and sedimentation, along with anaerobic digestion of the extracted sludge. “There are no mechanical parts to an Imhoff, and it is a very slow process,” Nielsen says. “Modern tanks have rake arms and other mechanical features that can separate waste from water far more quickly.” Off-gassing of biological waste from the settling Imhoff batteries was also leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions and a nasty odor for residential neighbors, some of whom live directly across the street from the plant’s main entrance. Converting to circular primary sedimentation tanks (PSTs) will accelerate wastewater treatment, with the added benefit of increasing by 15% the amount of digester gas available for the plant to use to fuel its operations. In 2004, when MWRDGC evaluated and approved Greeley & Hansen’s redesign, project officials estimated the savings on natural gas at $700,000 per year. Commodity prices of natural gas have fallen since then, but the district would still save from buying less of it. Methane can replace natural gas and producing its own digester gas will help Stickney achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2023, in part by an estimated reduction of 536,185 tons per year of CO2 emissions saved through methane capture and reuse. The MWRDGC will not have to purchase as much natural gas and other fossil fuels because it can burn the methane that covered effluent troughs will capture while also containing the smell. “The new PSTs will be much easier to take care of—maintenance and operations-wise—versus the Imhoff tanks,” says Ryan Christopher, Greeley & Hansen’s lead engineer for the current modernization phase. “Once this is up and running, it will be pushing 720 million gallons per day through the west side. That’s half of Stickney’s capable output, but most plants in the U.S. don’t even process a fraction of that … The new PSTs will give them much better control of their primary sludge, and they are expecting to increase their digester gas production once the PSTs are online.” A joint venture of Chicago-area construction companies George Sollitt/Sachi Group and Alworth Construction completed the $41.2-million first phase of the modernization in 2013 when crews demolished one battery of Imhoff tanks and settling tanks to make room for the nine 160-ft-dia, cast-in-place reinforced concrete PSTs. In addition to constructing the tanks, during Phase 2 crews are building covered effluent troughs to contain plant odor, two operating galleries to monitor operations and four tunnel access pump stations. Additionally, workers are constructing a secondary switchgear building with two 13.2-KV/480-V step-down transformers and 480-V switchgear, the aerated grit facility for processing up to 720 million gallons per day of wastewater and a primary switchgear building housing 13.2-KV switchgear. Crews are also nearly finished restoring the facility’s existing west grit chamber and screen house. “Our project will reorganize the flow of wastewater from the existing grit and fine screens building. The flow will come up from the pumping station through a screening building and then through our new aerated grit facility and then into these nine primary settling tanks,” Nielsen says. “When we’re online, these tanks will do everything that the Imhoff batteries did.” The scope of the job approaches the scale of Stickney itself. Overall, contractors will place an estimated 72,000 cu yd of concrete before Stickney switches to the new process, scheduled for July 2018. The modernization’s third phase, estimated at $110 million and planned to start in 2019, will add nine more primary settling tanks.

Xia K.,Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory | Hundal L.S.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Kumar K.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Armbrust K.,Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2010

Land application of biosolids is a common practice throughout the world. However, concerns continue to be raised about the safety of this practice, because biosolids may contain trace levels of organic contaminants. The present study evaluated the levels of triclocarban (TCC), triclosan (TCS), 4-nonylphenol (4-NP), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in biosolids from 16 wastewater treatment plants and in soils from field plots receiving annual applications of biosolids for 33 years. All of the four contaminants evaluated were detected in most of the biosolids at concentrations ranging from hundreds of μg/kg to over 1,000 mg/kg (dry wt basis). They were detected at μg/kg levels in the biosolids-amended soil, but their concentrations decreased sharply with increasing soil depth for 4-NP, PBDEs, and TCC, indicating limited soil leaching of those compounds. However, potential leaching of TCS in the biosolids-amended soils was observed. The levels of all four compounds in the surface soil increased with increasing biosolids application rate. Compared with the estimated 33-year cumulative input to the soil during the 33-year consecutive biosolids application, most of the PBDEs and a small percentage of 4-NP, TCC, and TCS remained in the top 120-cm soil layer. These observations suggest slow degradation of PBDEs but rapid transformation of 4-NP, TCC, and TCS in the biosolids-amended soils. © 2009 SETAC.

Koo B.-J.,California Baptist University | Chen W.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Chang A.C.,University of California at Riverside | Page A.L.,University of California at Riverside | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2010

Organic acids present in the rhizosphere of growing plants are widely recognized to be responsible for dissolving the solid phase metals in the soil and making them available for plant absorption. We proposed a root exudates-based model to assess the long-term phytoavailability of metals in biosolids-amended soils. The phytoavailability of biosolids-borne metals was defined in terms of a capacity factor and an intensity factor. The plant available metal pool, C0 (capacity factor, mg kg-1), can be estimated by fitting the successive organic acids extraction data to an exponential decay kinetic equation. The field metal removal rate, k (intensity factor, yr-1), can be estimated from the successive extraction-based metal release rate through an effective annual organic acid production in the rhizosphere which was found to be characteristic of plant species. The protocol was successfully used to assess the long-term phytoavailability of metals in biosolids-amended soil from two biosolids land application sites. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Higgins C.P.,Colorado School of Mines | Paesani Z.J.,Baltimore Polytechnic Institute | Halden R.U.,Arizona State University | Hundal L.S.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2011

The presence of the antimicrobial chemicals triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS) in municipal biosolids has raised concerns about the potential impacts of these chemicals on soil ecosystems following land application of municipal biosolids. The relative persistence of TCC and TCS in agricultural fields receiving yearly applications of biosolids at six different loading rates over a three-year period was investigated. Soil and biosolids samples were collected, extracted, and analyzed for TCC and TCS using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. In addition, the potential for bioaccumulation of TCC and TCS from the biosolids-amended soils was assessed over 28 d in the earthworm Eisenia foetida. Standard 28-d bioaccumulation tests were conducted for three biosolids loading rates from two sites, representing agronomic and twice the agronomic rates of biosolids application plots as well as control plots receiving no applications of biosolids. Additional bioaccumulation kinetic data were collected for the soils receiving the high biosolids loadings to ensure attainment of quasi steady-state conditions. The results indicate that TCC is relatively more persistent in biosolids-amended soil than TCS. In addition, TCC bioaccumulated in E. foetida, reaching body burdens of 25±4 and 133±17ng/gww in worms exposed for 28 d to the two soils amended with biosolids at agronomic rates. The 28-d organic carbon and lipid-normalized biota soil accumulation factors (BSAFs) were calculated for TCC and ranged from 0.22±0.12 to 0.71±0.13. These findings suggest that TCC bioaccumulation is somewhat consistent with the traditional hydrophobic organic contaminant (HOC) partitioning paradigm. However, these data also suggest substantially reduced bioavailability of TCC in biosolids-amended soils compared with HOC partitioning theory. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:556-563. © 2011 SETAC Copyright © 2010 SETAC.

Apul D.S.,University of Toledo | Diaz M.E.,University of Toledo | Gustafsson J.P.,KTH Royal Institute of Technology | Hundal L.S.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Environmental Engineering Science | Year: 2010

Biosolids-borne trace elements may be released to the environment when biosolids are used as fertilizers in farm land. Trace element leachate concentrations from biosolids are known to be limited by both organic and inorganic sorbent surfaces; this experimental evidence has not been previously verified with geochemical modeling of sorption reactions. In this study, pH-dependent leaching experiments and sorption isotherm experiments were coupled with a multisurface geochemical modeling approach. Biosolids samples were obtained from Toledo and Chicago wastewater treatment plants; their sorbent surfaces were defined and modeled as a combination of organic matter (OM) and Fe-, Al-, and Mn-oxides. The multisurface geochemical modeling approach was partially successful in predicting the pH-dependent leachate concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, and Zn. Both modeled and experimental data indicated that As and Mo in biosolids were bound to Fe-oxides; Cd, Cr, and Cu were bound mainly to OM; and as pH increased the fractions of Cd and Cu bound to Fe-oxides in the biosolids matrix increased. Ni and Zn were distributed between OM and Fe-oxides, and the percentage of each fraction depended on the pH. This study showed that the multisurface geochemical model could be used to generate As (and to a lesser extent Cd) Freundlich isotherm parameters for biosolids. However, the composition and reactivity of solid and dissolved OM was identified as a source of uncertainty in the modeling results. Therefore, more detailed studies focusing on the reactivity of isolated biosolids OM fractions with regard to proton and metal binding are needed to improve the capability of geochemical models to predict the fate of biosolids-borne trace metals in the environment. © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Kukier U.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Chaney R.L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Ryan J.A.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Daniels W.L.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Quality | Year: 2010

Agronomic use of biosolids has raised concern that plant availability of biosolids-Cd will increase with time after cessation of biosolids application. It has been demonstrated that chemical extractability of Cd is persistently decreased in biosolids-amended soils. This study was conducted to determine if Cd phytoavailability in long-term biosolids-amended soils was also persistently decreased. Paired control and biosolids-amended soils were collected from three experimental sites where large cumulative rates of biosolids were applied about 20 yr ago. The pH of all soils [in 0.01 mol L-1 Ca(NO 3)2] was adjusted to 6.5 ± 0.2. Increasing rates of Cd-nitrate (from 0 to 10.0 mg Cd kg-1 soil) enriched in 111Cd stable isotope were added to all soils, and Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. longifolia Lam.) was grown in pots to bioassay phytoavailable Cd. After harvest, Cd concentrations in shoots and labile pool of Cd (CdL) in soils were determined. The relationship between added salt-Cd and Cd concentrations in lettuce shoots was linear for all soils tested. Ratios of (shoot Cd):(soil Cd) slopes were highest in the control soils. Biosolids amendment decreased (shoot Cd):(soil Cd) slopes to varied extent depending on biosolids source, properties, and application rate. The decrease in slope in comparison to the control was an indication of the lower phytoavailability of Cd in biosolids-amended soils. A significant negative correlation existed between Cd uptake slopes and soil organic matter, free and amorphous Fe and Al oxides, Bray-P, and soil and plant Zn. Biosolids-Cd was highly labile (%L 80-95) except for Fulton County soil (%L = 61). Copyright © 2010 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

Sepulvado J.G.,Colorado School of Mines | Blaine A.C.,Colorado School of Mines | Hundal L.S.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Higgins C.P.,Colorado School of Mines
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

The recent implementation of soil and drinking water screening guidance values for two perfluorochemicals (PFCs), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reflects the growing concerns regarding the presence of these persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals in the natural environment. Previous work has established the potential risk to the environment from the land application of industrially contaminated biosolids, but studies focusing on environmental risk from land application of typical municipal biosolids are lacking. Thus, the present study investigated the occurrence and fate of PFCs from land-applied municipal biosolids by evaluating the levels, mass balance, desorption, and transport of PFCs in soils receiving application of municipal biosolids at various loading rates. This study is the first to report levels of PFCs in agricultural soils amended with typical municipal biosolids. PFOS was the dominant PFC in both biosolids (80-219 ng/g) and biosolids-amended soil (2-483 ng/g). Concentrations of all PFCs in soil increased linearly with increasing biosolids loading rate. These data were used to develop a model for predicting PFC soil concentrations in soils amended with typical municipal biosolids using cumulative biosolids loading rates. Mass balance calculations comparing PFCs applied vs those recovered in the surface soil interval indicated the potential transformation of PFC precursors. Laboratory desorption experiments indicated that the leaching potential of PFCs decreases with increasing chain length and that previously derived organic-carbon normalized partition coefficients may not be accurate predictors of the desorption of long-chain PFCs from biosolids-amended soils. Trace levels of PFCs were also detected in soil cores from biosolids-amended soils to depths of 120 cm, suggesting potential movement of these compounds within the soil profile over time and confirming the higher transport potential for short-chain PFCs in soils amended with municipal biosolids. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Rodriguez R.A.,University of Arizona | Rodriguez R.A.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Gundy P.M.,University of Arizona | Rijal G.K.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Gerba C.P.,University of Arizona
Food and Environmental Virology | Year: 2012

The contribution of combined sewer overflows (CSO) to the viral contamination of receiving waters was determined. Adenovirus concentrations were determined using the Primary Liver Carcinoma (PLC/PRF/5) cell line and confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Norovirus concentration was determined using the Most Probable Number (MPN) and Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). Seventy-five water samples were collected during dry weather and 50 samples were collected during wet weather. CSO events significantly increased the concentration of culturable viruses, adenoviruses, and noroviruses in the receiving waters (P < 0.01). During dry weather, 56% of samples were positive for total virus cytopathic effects (CPE), adenoviruses were detected in 41% of the positive cell cultures, and noroviruses in 6% of the concentrates by direct RT-PCR. During wet weather, 100% of the samples were positive by CPE, 84% for adenoviruses, and 40% in the concentrates for norovirus. Our results demonstrate that CSOs can contribute significant viral loading to receiving waters. © 2012 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.

Scalise C.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Fitzpatrick K.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago | Jensen P.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress 2016, WTC 2016 | Year: 2016

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC) owns and operates the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) system which was adopted in 1972. TARP is a network of 110 miles of deep tunnels and ultimately 3 large reservoirs to combat waterway pollution and flooding within a 350 square mile area served by combined sewers. The original TARP concept included additional tunnels to convey CSOs from the largest storms to the reservoirs. With the initial TARP tunnels complete and the reservoirs nearing completion, MWRDGC commissioned hydraulic and hydrologie modeling studies to analyze the benefits of additional conveyance tunnels. These updated studies optimized the configuration of additional tunnels considering integration with potential future local sewer system upgrades. The alternatives considered several routes of 25, 30, and 35 foot diameter tunnels, ranging from 10 to 18 miles. Alternatives were analyzed based on projected reductions to basement flooding compared to the relative costs.

Kelly J.J.,Loyola University Chicago | Policht K.,Loyola University Chicago | Grancharova T.,Loyola University Chicago | Hundal L.S.,Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

The recently discovered ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) have been suggested as contributors to the first step of nitrification in terrestrial ecosystems, a role that was previously assigned exclusively to ammoniaoxidizing bacteria (AOB). The current study assessed the effects of agricultural management, specifically amendment of soil with biosolids or synthetic fertilizer, on nitrification rates and copy numbers of archaeal and bacterial ammonia monooxygenase (amoA) genes. Anaerobically digested biosolids or synthetic fertilizer was applied annually for three consecutive years to field plots used for corn production. Biosolids were applied at two loading rates, a typical agronomic rate (27 Mg hectare -1 year -1) and double the agronomic rate (54 Mg hectare -1 year -1), while synthetic fertilizer was applied at an agronomic rate typical for the region (291 kg N hectare -1 year -1). Both biosolids amendments and synthetic fertilizer increased soil N and corn yield, but only the biosolids amendments resulted in significant increases in nitrification rates and increases in the copy numbers of archaeal and bacterial amoA genes. In addition, only archaeal amoA gene copy numbers increased in response to biosolids applied at the typical agronomic rate and showed a significant correlation with nitrification rates. Finally, copy numbers of archaeal amoA genes were significantly higher than copy numbers of bacterial amoA genes for all treatments. These results implicate AOA as being primarily responsible for the increased nitrification observed in an agricultural soil amended with biosolids. These results also support the hypothesis that physiological differences between AOA and AOB may enable them to occupy distinct ecological niches. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

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