As municipalities in the City of Chicago contract to supply fresh water from Lake Michigan, a new report from researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago recommends that plans include supplying recycled water for industry. to avoid pending issues related to water supply in the region.
The report, produced by UIC’s Freshwater Lab in collaboration with UIC’s Great Cities Institute, details a proposed “dual-pipeline” solution: A single-line system that supplies industrial areas with treated of waste and another for delivering drinking water to homes. , health care facilities and other places that need drinking water.
The researchers recommend that every new community that is able to build a pipeline to take water from Lake Michigan build a second one for recycled waste. They say it will help meet the area’s drinking water needs, divert wastewater from area rivers and support industrial economic growth in northern Illinois.
“A lot of communities need water from Chicago, but Illinois has a cap,” on what it can get from Lake Michigan, explained Rachel Havrelock, founder of the Freshwater Lab, a humanities-based initiative that has -focus on research, teaching and public. knowledge about the Great Lakes. “It needs to be thought about now.”
With a $100,000 grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the team initially explored the possibility of water reuse within Chicago, but shifted its focus to Joliet, Illinois, due to urgent water needs and heavy industrial footprint.
Joliet recently contracted with Chicago for access to Lake Michigan water by 2030 to avoid eventual water shortages due to the collapse of the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer, the groundwater source that serves communities in Will, Kane and DuPage counties. Only Joliet took its share of the aquifer at 800 feet.
In the future more communities involved in the collapsed aquifer will request agreements with Chicago for water, but in the end, the city will have to decline due to legal limits set by the US Supreme Court.
The UIC team hopes that federal and state funding can be secured to integrate the dual-pipeline system into the Joliet project, which has just begun construction.
“When better than now to start?” said Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute. “There is no reason we should use drinking water for industrial use when we have a viable alternative.”
The researchers recommended building a second pipeline within the same easement as the initial Joliet pipeline, which would avoid the need to acquire additional land along its 30-mile route. The estimated cost for the construction of the second pipeline is $285 million, approximately the same cost as the first pipeline.
The second pipeline will connect to one of two wastewater reclamation plants, where wastewater is now collected and treated to a level that makes it safe to release into rivers.
An additional $78 million or $114 million is needed for the connecting line, depending on which plant it runs, according to the researchers’ estimates.
In both scenarios, the second pipeline would carry enough water to supply Joliet and surrounding communities with industrial water needs.
The idea of water recycling was already of interest to each of the researchers when they collaborated on the proposal, which was modeled after a water recycling project in El Segundo, California. Built in 1995, that system provides approximately 40 million gallons of recycled water per day to industrial users to free up drinking water in drought-stricken Southern California.
The proposal was presented with an understanding of Chicago’s long history of sending wastewater south, as well as how waste is managed in the region. MWRD operates the Deep Tunnel system, a 109-mile project that provides access to stormwater before it is treated and transferred to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal for its final journey to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River.
This resource-intensive but wasteful process is one of the things that sparked UIC engineering professor Krishna Reddy’s interest in the dual-pipeline concept.
“Fresh water is a precious resource and we’re taking fresh water and putting it in the ocean, making it useless,” said Reddy, UIC professor of civil, materials and environmental engineering, who also director of the Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering Laboratory and the Sustainable Engineering Research Laboratory.
Funds allocated for water infrastructure in Illinois in the federal infrastructure action, as well as money from the Environmental Protection Agency, are among the potential sources of funding proposed by the UIC team. They also recommended that MWRD sell recycled water to the Chicago Department of Water Management. Overall, the proposed dual-pipeline project will ultimately pay for itself by “turning waste into revenue,” Havrelock said.
From Waste to Water: A Home for a Sustainable Supply of Fresh Water in Northeastern Illinois: greatcities.uic.edu/2023/03/12 … rtheastern-illinois/
Given by the University of Illinois at Chicago
Citation: Plan calls for wastewater recycling to prevent water crisis in Chicago region (2023, July 18) retrieved 20 July 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-07-recycling- wastewater-chicago-region-crisis.html
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