Tree debris to be used as bulking agent to compost biosolids from wastewater in Chicago

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July 31, 2014 -- An Intergovernmental Agreement has recently been established between the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and the City of Chicago for the recycling of tree debris to be used as a bulking agent to compost biosolids generated by wastewater processing. 

Wood chips created from Chicago tree debris will be mixed with the biosolids and then composted into an organic material for use as a substitute for fertilizer, compost and soil amendment. This material will be used for maintaining or establishing turf grass in parks, athletic fields and public access areas throughout Cook County.

As part of regular forestry operations of tree trimming and tree removal, the Department of Streets and Sanitation Bureau of Forestry produces a large and continuous supply of wood chips. These chips will be supplied to the MWRD's biosolids program at the Calumet Solids Management Area regularly, with the first delivery constituting 100 yards of wood chips. 

Moreover, Chicago will provide the MWRD with approximately 150,000 yards of wood chips over the next three years. This Agreement allows the city to efficiently and effectively recycle wood chips for reuse in Chicago and the surrounding areas.

See also:

"MWRD receives prestigious Excellence in Management award"

"MN develops first-of-its-kind stormwater management program using trees over pipes"

About MWRD

Established in 1889, MWRD is an award-winning, special purpose unit of local government responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Ill. Biosolids are an environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizer and can be used in landscaping, for establishing and maintaining turf at parks and athletic fields, and for growing agricultural crops. The MWRD produces 165,000 tons of biosolids for reuse annually. For more information, visit


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