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MWRD launches phosphorus recovery system

June 15th, 2016

MWRD’s Stickney Water Reclamation Plant officially launched its phosphorus and nitrogen recovery system in late May.  These excess nutrients can cause algae to grow and bloom in waterways, leading to ‘dead zones’ where aquatic life cannot survive.  Chicago’s rivers lead to the Mississippi River and contribute to this hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

MWRD’s new phosphorus reclamation system will serve a dual purpose: removing harmful nutrients from the Mississippi River waterways and creating fertilizer that can be used on farms.

“What we have is the world’s largest nutrient recovery facility,” said Phillip Abrary, the co-founder, president and chief executive of Ostara, which installed this treatment system at MWRD’s facility. “What it does is essentially recovers the phosphorous and the nitrogen in the wastewater at the Stickney plant and coverts that into a high-grade, slow-release fertilizer that can be used for all sorts of agricultural applications.”

MWRD’s Stickney WRP is the largest water reclamation plant in the world, treating up to 1.44 billion gallons of water each day.  More stringent state and federal regulations compelled MWRD to invest in this new treatment system to remove nutrients prior to discharging into the Chicago River.

In the video below from WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight”, Ostara’s Chief Technology Officer explains how the phosphorus recovery system works at the MWRD Stickney plant:

More information about this nutrient reclamation program can be found on WTTW’s website and on Water World’s website.

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