CHICAGO — The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) selected Black & Veatch and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to design and build a new nutrient recovery system at its Stickney Water Reclamation Plant in Cicero, Ill. The facility will improve water quality in local rivers, lakes, and streams. It will also produce commercial fertilizer from recovered resources.

“The MWRD’s mission is to protect the source of our drinking water, improve the quality of area waterways, and manage water as a vital resource for the Greater Chicago area,” said Patrick D. Thompson, MWRD Commissioner and Chairman of the Monitoring and Research Committee. “The Stickney project achieves these goals and enables us to recover phosphorus and nitrogen from waste streams that can be converted into fertilizer. In addition, the sale of this product will help offset the cost of operating and maintaining the new facility.”

Advising the project team is James L. Barnard, Ph.D., Water Global Practice and Technology Leader and winner of the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize. Known to the water industry as “The Father of Biological Nutrient Removal,” Barnard is credited with developing the nutrient removal process used in many wastewater treatment plants worldwide.

“Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource that is critical to farming and food production. Nothing grows without it but too much of it can negatively impact water quality,” said Barnard. “Biological nutrient removal enables us to address water quality challenges and recover this precious nutrient for beneficial reuse purposes.”

“With this new facility, the district is transforming a water challenge into a sustainable solution,” said F. Phillip Abrary, Ostara president and CEO. “Removing nutrients from where they shouldn’t be — in our waterways — and using them to create a new generation of slow-release fertilizers is the smart thing to do economically and the right thing to do environmentally.”

Black & Veatch is providing design, procurement, and construction services. Ostara will provide the nutrient recovery system, including equipment. Ostara will also provide operations and maintenance assistance to the district once the project is completed.