A New Sludge Treatment Facility by MWRD to Clean the Chicago River

The Skokie water plant will be the second water treatment facility of MWRD that disinfects treated water.

Sludge is a by-product obtained during Treatment of Wastewater. The process of Wastewater Treatment involves elimination of the wastewater and sludge is obtained during the process. Sludge contain large quantities of microorganisms, organic matter, pathogens, and bacteria which can cause harmful effects on human health. Reducing the volume of sludge and stabilizing organic materials is necessary before it goes through the final disposal process. Pungent smell is eliminated in a stabilized sludge and easy to handle without risk of safety hazards. Furthermore, the cost for storage, pumping, and disposal of the sludge decreases with a smaller volume.

Sludge treatment Chemicals:

Typically, a polymer chemical is used for dewatering process in which the volume is reduced. Polymers chemicals are slippery and can also be used as environmental stress crack agents. Dewatering reduces sludge liquid volume up to 90 percent. Remaining sludge is put into large centrifuges that works in the same manner as a washing machine. A force is produced by spinning centrifuge to separate the majority of the water from the sludge solid. Then the remaining water is pulled out from the spinning and returned to the plant for reprocessing. Addition of polymer chemical to the substance helps in maintaining the consistency and creates a solid product which is easier to manage. 

Skokie sludge treatment facility:

Disinfection technology at a Skokie water treatment facility will be used to clean Chicago River. Wastewater released from the O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant into the North Shore Channel and North Branch of the Chicago River contain harmful bacteria and pathogens. Ultraviolet radiation would kill it with the help of the new disinfection facility announced by The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD). This plant will be the second water treatment facility of MWRD that disinfects treated water. Last year, its Calumet facility started disinfecting treated water that was released into the Calumet River. The system used chlorine to kill bacteria and a subsequent de-chlorination process was necessary to eliminate the chemical due to its hazardous effects on environment. 

“The O’Brien plant’s ultraviolet disinfection approach is not only cheaper than using chlorine, but also safer,” according to the MWRD’s director of engineering, Dr. Catherine O’Connor. “With ultraviolet disinfection, the advantage is there are no possible disinfection byproducts or dissolved solids in the water.” 

Disinfection process in the O’Brien plant:

In the first step, The O'Brien plant eliminates sludge from human and industrial wastewater. Organic matter is broken down microbial processes in the second step. It disinfects the treated water in its final step. The risk of health problems arising due to direct contact with water is reduced. O’Connor informed people of Chicago not to go for swimming in the river as it is not safe. A new facility would help MWRD in sludge treatment process to make it safer.

“We want [people] to exercise public health common sense, like not touching your hand to your mouth or washing your hands before you eat if you’ve made contact with the water," O’Connor added. “Any illness that would come from the water wouldn’t be terribly serious, but it would cause discomfort, like gastrointestinal distress.”
Analysts studying the market have revealed a thorough information about changing market trends in research reports. Allied Market Research has published a report titled, “World Sludge Treatment Chemicals Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2015 - 2022.” As per the report, the world sludge treatment chemicals market is expected to register a CAGR of 5.3% from 2016 to 2022 and estimated to reach $5.5 billion by 2022. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of competitive intelligence, drivers & opportunities, and key manufacturers. Furthermore, the study offers value chain analysis, SWOT analysis of key market players, and estimations are made from 2016 to 2022 for each segment of the industry.

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