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Member Spotlight:

Downers Grove Sanitary District

· Members,Wastewater,Innovation

The Downers Grove Sanitary District was formed in 1921. The District provides sanitary sewer collection and wastewater treatment services for nearly 65,000 people in south central DuPage County Illinois. The largely residential service area includes commercial, industrial and institutional customers. Portions of the collection system date back to 1904.

Under the leadership of General Manager, Nick Menninga, the District has made major strides in energy efficiency and watershed management. The District recently made strategic investments in cutting-edge technologies that allow it to operate as a net-zero energy facility. An early adopter of high-speed turbo-blowers and associated control system upgrades, energy saving investments across the facility (pumping, HVAC, lighting, etc.) have significantly reduced the overall energy needs of the facility.

Plant staff pose with a combined heat and power engine-generator, a key component of their net-zero energy operation.

More recently, energy recovery by using bio-gas to fuel a combined heat and power facility allows the plant to generate more electricity that is needed to operate, plus all of the heat needed to run the anaerobic digesters. High-strength waste receiving facilities produce additional revenue, as well as increased bio-gas production using the waste as co-digestion feed stock for the anaerobic digestion process.

As a member of Current, the District is looking forward to connecting with new innovative technologies and accessing cutting-edge wastewater research. The District will also act as a test-site as part of Current’s test bed network for new technologies that improve operational efficiencies and help meet future regulatory needs.

The District is a founding member of the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup (DRSCW). The watershed workgroup is comprised of Publicly Owned Treatment Works and Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer Systems (MS4) members who are adaptively managing watershed resources to meet the Clean Water Act goals of swimmable, fishable surface waters. The Workgroup uses state-of-the-art stream monitoring and assessment tools to identify activities and projects to restore the aquatic community. Members then pool resources to help fund projects needed to restore this heavily urbanized watershed to a more natural condition. Details are included on the Workgroup’s website.

General Manager Nick Menninga explains the activated sludge process to Clarendon Hills Middle School science students during a recent plant tour.

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