The Next Stage Of Treatment: Water Resource Recovery
David St. Pierre takes “waste” out of the term “wastewater,” leading by example as executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). Here he shares MWRD’s initiatives and his vision of the future.
St. Pierre, in this exclusive Water Online Radio interview, was asked to describe the transition from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to water resource recovery facility (WWRF). The following is a small portion of his commentary, which can be heard in full below.
“For years and years, we’ve always thought about utilities as taking in water, cleaning that water, protecting the environment. But this seed is going to grow into something that I don’t think any of us [can] imagine right now. As that door cracks open and begins to permeate a little bit of light into the utility world, it’s going to bust open and absolutely change the environment that we’re in today…
“Resource recovery is going to be at the forefront of what we do. We’re starting out with these [resource recovery projects] that we’ve dabbled in for years — energy, we’ve had digesters. We’re accelerating that and we’re taking in food organics now, and we’re producing more energy.
“We have biosolids products that we’ve produced for years. That’s a part of it. We’re putting in the largest phosphorus recovery facility in the world in Chicago … but that’s scratching the surface.
“We’re looking at an algae process that can actually clean water and provide revenue far beyond what we take in, in terms of our user rates. That’s what’s transformational about this thought and this idea. We haven’t really explored the value of the water that we are keepers of. Just that possibility … that little shift in thinking is going to explode this industry.
Learn more from St. Pierre by tuning in to the full interview.