Deerfield water reclamation facility nearing completion
Frank Cisek, superintendent of Deerfield's Wastewater Reclamation Facility, has overseen the $29.5 million renovation project of the facilit,y which is nearing completion after 30 months. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 10, 2012 9:25AM
DEERFIELD — Thirty months and $29.5 million later, Deerfield’s most expensive project ever, its new Water Reclamation Facility, is nearing completion.
Deerfield’s sewage and run-off storm water now goes through a cutting-edge, state-of-the art cleaning and refining process, one flush at a time.
Without a disruption to sewer and drainage service, the village was able to construct the project with little to no problems, according to Assistant Village Engineer Bob Phillips.
The new facility is built on and around the existing facility, aimed at reusing as much of the 58-year-old property as possible, said Frank Cisek, superintendent of the Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
“We’ve been in this (process) since 2003,” Cisek said. “The new facility is prepared to accept new changes that may come down the road. One of the things is we’re into consolidation.”
Cisek said two sludge digestion processors were melded into one, and that existing facilities were used to make the project more cost-effective.
But one of the biggest improvements, Cisek said, is the elimination of chlorine from the treatment process. With the new ultra-violet (UV) sanitation process, waste water can be disinfected, chemical-free, discharging clean water into the west fork of the north branch of the Chicago River, which runs behind the facility.
“We’re also not getting big tanker trucks of chlorine being delivered through the neighborhood, so that’s a benefit to the community and to my staff,” Cisek said.
Most of the improvements lie underground, he added.
“They (engineers) reconfigured all the sewer lines, so we can consolidate as they come into this pump building,” Cisek said. “There used to be 14 pumps in 5 different locations (to pump sewage) through the plant. Now there’s one facility with six pumps.”
Cisek said the design crew deserves a lot of credit for this one: the sewage is pumped only once through the entire facility.
“This was a very difficult because we were building a new plant on top of an old plant, and all the underground construction was very difficult, so we are very proud of it,” Cisek said.
In a nutshell, according to Phillips, the waste water enters the plant and goes through an initial screening stage, pulling out any paper and plastic, and discarding it into a dumpster. The water then goes through two more steps, causing the solids to settle out. Those solids, after a few more steps, eventually become the consistency of black soil, also known as sludge, or fertilizer.
That high-grade solid material is then sent to local farmlands, according to Phillips.
The leftover water has been sterilized through the UV system.
The new facility, Phillips said, has the capacity to hold more than 3 million gallons of overflow rainwater, in the event of a heavy storm. Cisek said the old facility could only store 1.6 million gallons of overflow. A back-up generator has also been installed, to run the pumps in case of a power outage.
“We’re trying to avoid discharge of partially-treated sewerage,” Cisek said of the over-flow reservoirs.
Several studies were conducted before the project started. The village considered consolidating its water treatment with other villages, privatizing the facility and rebuilding a state-of-the-art one that can withstand regulatory updates for the next several decades.
In the end, Cisek said the new facility was the right choice.
“We’re positioned with the new plant to deal with those new things when they come along,” Cisek said. “With the old plant, we weren’t able to.”