District plans new wastewater plant to meet EPA guidelines

Dec. 10, 2015

The new requirements are in keeping with an effort to reduce phosphorous levels in all Mississippi River tributaries, which contribute to Gulf Hypoxia.

LISLE, Ill. — Dec. 1, 2015 — The Fox Metro Water Reclamation District will construct a new wastewater treatment facility to comply with revised Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) phosphorous guidelines, according to a press release.

Nearly 300,000 residents are served by the Fox Metro, which provides high-efficiency wastewater treatment, noted the release. The new guidelines require the district to enhance its ability to process phosphorus, so a new facility will be built south of the current facility on district-owned land.

River City Construction LLC won the bid to manage construction of the new plant, stated the release.

According to the release, the current plant discharges water into the Fox River that is cleaner than what currently exists in the river. However, the EPA required the facility to reduce the level of phosphorus in the river by 2019.

Fertilizer runoff and human waste contribute to phosphorus levels, which is treated by Fox Metro, reported the release. The new facility will eliminate 67 percent of phosphorus in the discharge water.

Phosphorus depletes dissolved oxygen in water, which can cause algal blooms, shared the release. The Fox River is part of the Mississippi River watershed, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf Hypoxia, or low-oxygen "dead zones," may be alleviated by removing phosphorus from all Mississippi River tributaries.

"Though the Illinois EPA requires us to build this new plant, the Board carefully considered this project to guarantee we can responsibly – both environmentally and fiscally – upgrade aging infrastructure, add natural beauty and greenery to the area and meet new safety and environmental compliance standards," said Tom Muth, manager of the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District, in the release. "The new building project will benefit the Fox River, Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico for generations to come."

Fox Metro obtained a $92 million state loan to fund the project, noted the release. Incremental rate increases will help repay the loan. Construction will began in early 2016 and end by late 2018.

You can find the entire release here.

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