In 2017, Illinois American Water’s Peoria District partnered with local farmers to apply over 32,000 tons of residuals, rather than sending them to a landfill. In total, 32,948 tons of water treatment residuals from Illinois American Water’s Main Station Water Treatment Plant and the San Koty Water Treatment Plant were applied to 160 acres of agricultural fields northeast of Peoria in Medina Township.
According to Lori Horstman, production superintendent and a licensed Class A water treatment operator, the partnership is a best practices supported by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She said, “We work closely with EPA and follow strict land application guidelines, ensuring the residual application not only prevents volume from entering landfills, but is also applied to farmland properly to decrease farming-related chemical use to further protect our natural resources.”
Solids generated from the water treatment process are held in basins or dried in lagoons at the water treatment plants. The company worked with Steward Spreading to ensure the residual applied to local farmland was applied to land that had completed the required field sampling. Also, application could not be made to sites that were wet, frozen, or near a potable water supply. According to Horstman, there are a number of technical requirements, but the effort is worth it.
“We work with a precious resource daily, so it isn’t lost on us how critical it is to reuse what we can and return to the earth these natural conditioners. We feel this is the right thing to do and we are thankful to the farmers who partner on this effort,” said Horstman.
The alum residuals are usually applied in the fall after crops have been harvested. Farmers then plow the field after the application or in the spring to incorporate the residuals into the soil. In 2017 the land application was made on two 80-acre fields located in Medina Township.
According to Ryan Schuler, Illinois American Water’s environmental compliance supervisor who manages the residual programs across the state, “The residuals benefit the farmland by helping with the retention of soil moisture. This is in addition to the small amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are added by the application. Also, we aren’t taking up space at a local landfill. It’s a great program.”
To learn more about Illinois American Water’s environmental efforts, please visit www.illinoisamwater.com.
About Illinois American Water - Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.