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Local

Tour of wastewater district expansion scheduled Monday

The entrance to the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District's office is shown Friday along Hollister Avenue in DeKalb
The entrance to the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District's office is shown Friday along Hollister Avenue in DeKalb

DeKALB – A local group concerned about climate change has organized a tour of the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District’s plant expansion, to show how it can help the environment.

The tour will be at 6 p.m. Monday and led by Mark Eddington, district manager of the KWRD. The free tour at the plant, 303 Hollister Ave., is open to anyone 12 and older. The wastewater district plans to generate enough energy from biomass to provide its own electrical power through 2030.

Dave Davis, representative of 350Kishwaukee, said Mayor Jerry Smith signing on to become a climate-forward mayor puts DeKalb on the cutting edge.

“Cities around the United States are waking up to the fact that we really are in an energy crisis,” Davis said.

The project is designed to optimize energy efficiency and will include equipment that will enable the district to use biogas created from the treatment process to power a generator that will produce its own electricity and heat with a goal of being energy neutral by 2030, said Mike Holland, district engineer and assistant district manager with the wastewater district, as well as a member of the city’s Citizens’ Environmental Commission.

Meryl Greer Domina, a member of 350Kishwaukee, said given global warming trends, we need to take heed of what’s unfolded along the Eastern Seaboard.

She said in a release that residents can look forward to seeing the grit separator and bar screen, trickling filters, clarifiers and aeration tanks and building that all make this innovation possible.

“This allows the wastewater to meet EPA acceptable limits of ammonia, phosphorus and nitrogen before being released into the Kishwaukee River,” the release said.

“We know our weather is being affected by climate change,” Greer Domina said in a phone interview. “What’s that going to mean to us in the Midwest?”

She admitted that she’s eager to learn a lot on the tour.

“I don’t have any answers,” she said. “I have a lot of questions, and that’s why I’m excited for the tour.”

Davis, who lives in Oregon, said the district’s commitment to being electrically self-sufficient got the nonprofit on board.

“That was the carrot for us,” he said. “That’s groundbreaking.”

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