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NPR highlights Chicago’s wastewater treatment system

March 23rd, 2015

Where+does+your+poop+go+printout

As part of WBEZ’s “Curious City” program, Chicago’s NPR station recently featured a segment entitled “Where Does Your Poop Go? A functional journey through the Chicago-area sewer system.

This audio story is now available online and has a companion interactive graphic about the waste treatment process.  This story focuses on residential waste, but industrial wastewater flows into the same sewer system and undergoes this treatment process by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD).

Near the end of the story –  and treatment process – these facilities produce ‘biosolids,’ a nutrient-rich organic material.

“Some biosolids that leave the treatment plant can be spread on some farmland.  These are called ‘Class B biosolids.’

If the biosolids are going to be spread in places where people could touch them – like a park or garden – they need to be processed even more.  These solids are called ‘Class A biosolids.'”

biosolids graphic

Gabriel receives some of these Class A biosolids from MWRD for use in our award-winning garden.  We’re looking forward to the approaching Springtime weather to get our flowers blooming again with the help of this organic material.

If you want to learn more about this wastewater treatment process, WBEZ is hosting a Curious City Live podcast taping at Lincoln Hall tonight, Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm.  This “Fecal Matters” show will be kid-friendly and features both what happens to poop at the Lincoln Park Zoo and when you flush at home.

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