The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has selected Water Design-Build Council member Black & Veatch and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to design and build a new nutrient recovery system at its Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero, IL.
The Stickney Water Reclamation Plant is the largest facility of its kind in the world. It serves 2.2 million people, treats a 260-square-mile area including the central part of Chicago and 43 suburban communities, and covers 413 acres.
The MWRD, which serves more than 10 million constituents, desired a phosphorus management strategy based on anticipated changes to regulatory limits affecting its effluent discharge permits. In addition, the MWRD’s wastewater system was experiencing an accumulation of the mineral in its struvite form, which can be damaging to pipes and equipment. The new facility will improve water quality in local rivers, lakes and streams. It will also produce commercial fertilizer from recovered resources.
“The MWRD’s mission is to protect the source of our drinking water, improve the quality of area waterways, and manage water as a vital resource for the Greater Chicago area,” said Patrick D. Thompson, MWRD Commissioner and Chairman of the Monitoring and Research Committee. “The Stickney project achieves these goals and enables us to recover phosphorus and nitrogen from waste streams that can be converted into fertilizer. In addition, the sale of this product will help offset the cost of operating and maintaining the new facility.”
Advising the project team is Dr. James L. Barnard, Water Global Practice and Technology Leader and winner of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. Known to the water industry as “The Father of Biological Nutrient Removal,” Dr. Barnard is credited with developing the nutrient removal process used in many wastewater treatment plants worldwide.
“Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource that is critical to farming and food production. Nothing grows without it but too much of it can negatively impact water quality,” said Dr. Barnard. “Biological nutrient removal enables us to address water quality challenges and recover this precious nutrient for beneficial reuse purposes.”
“With this new facility, the District is transforming a water challenge into a sustainable solution,” said F. Phillip Abrary, Ostara president and CEO. “Removing nutrients from where they shouldn’t be – in our waterways – and using them to create a new generation of slow-release fertilizers is the smart thing to do economically and the right thing to do environmentally.”
Black & Veatch is providing design, procurement and construction services. Construction of the new stand-alone phosphorus recovery facility will not interrupt the plant’s operations and will connect to the existing treatment plant requiring only short-duration shutdowns of ancillary processes. The new facility is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Ostara will provide the nutrient recovery system, including equipment. Ostara will also provide operations and maintenance assistance to the District once the project is completed. The company will contract with the District to purchase the recovered nutrients, which it markets to commercial fertilizer blenders and distributors in the agriculture, turf and ornamental sectors.