DuPage County opens new wastewater treatment site

DuPage County officials cut the ribbon on a new waste processing facility Tuesday.

The 24-hour site, located at the Woodridge Greene Valley Wastewater Treatment Facility along Route 53, is the first of its kind in Illinois and among the first in the nation, the two others being in Oregon and Ohio.

“It’s a great day for the treatment of wastewater,” DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin told a crowd of about 50 people. “It really is a remarkable idea, yet so simple.”

As simple as gravity, which is the method to be used in separating all manner of liquid waste from all manner of solid waste picked up by public works drivers from various DuPage municipalities, including Naperville and parts of Aurora.

Currently, public works drivers have to remove waste from stormwater sewers, and somehow dry the refuse before taking it to the dump, a process that each municipality performs on its own.

Not only is the current method time-consuming, but not very efficient in terms of protecting groundwater and streams, county officials said.

The new facility employs a slanted driveway that can accommodate four trucks at once, letting the liquid part of the waste run off into its own system.

After the liquid is separated from the solid waste and the waste is dried, county drivers will take it to the dump, and all the municipal workers have to do is wash out their trucks, with recycled water from the treatment facility, then head back to their towns.

County officials are reluctant to put an estimate on how much each municipality would save, but Woodridge Mayor Gina Cunningham-Picek indicated that her village alone would save at least $10,000 per year, and likely more.

“This is a great partnership and collaboration with the county and the Illinois EPA,” she said.

County Board member James Healy (R-Naperville) was a driving force behind the initiative.

“It’s a small amount, spread out over the entire area,” Healy said. “But the total will be huge … we’ll be saving everybody money.”

Healy said that the concept is so promising that the county is already looking at options for another station to serve the remainder of DuPage.

“This will pay for itself quickly,” he said. “We’re already looking at options for the northeast and west portions of the county.”

Healy said that municipalities would save from reduced man hours because drivers wouldn’t have to dry the loads themselves.

Tony Michelassi (D-Aurora) had nothing but praise for the project.

“This is a fantastic step forward for DuPage,” he said.

“We’ve always been ahead of the curve.”

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