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How Chicago turns sewage into power


MWRD's Calumet Wastewater Reclamation Plant

MWRD’s Calumet Wastewater Reclamation Plant


There are a lot of things in the 1.2 billion gallons that pour through the world’s largest water-treatment plant every day: grime swept off Chicago sidewalks, sewage scoured from thousands of miles of pipes—and enough energy to cut an annual $50 million electricity bill to zero.

That’s if engineers at Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District can achieve their goal to become energy neutral in the next eight years. The public agency has pledged, by 2023, to slash its energy consumption and produce whatever remaining power it needs onsite, becoming the largest wastewater treatment authority in the country to do so.

MWRD isn’t the only sewage treatment agency doing this. DC Water and Hampton Roads Sanitation District in Virginia are also taking aggressive steps to recast wastewater as energy…Please click here to read Chris Bentley’s story in the Atlantic CityLab.

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