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New System Will Recycle Harmful Substances From Chicago Water System

Chicago area waterways are about to get cleaner.

For years, the Chicago River has been  a visible attraction for visitors -- but also a major contributor of pollution.

"In the past we really treated Chicago's rivers like our sewers, so we dumped all our waste into them," the Sierra Club's Cindy Skrukrud says.

The waste include phosphorous from the water reclamation plant in Cicero that causes algae blooms in the river.

Soon, that won't be the case, thanks to a new $31 million system, the largest nutrient recovery facility in the world.

"We're both taking it out of the waste water treating system, preventing it from getting into our lakes and rivers and we're also reapplying it as fertilizer that is also environmentally safe," says Ostara CEO and President Phillip Abrary.

The fertilizer, called Crystal Green, can be used for agricultural and turf purposes.

Eleven other plants across the U.S. are using this system developed in Canada, but in terms of scale, Cicero's plant is by far the largest.

Even though many believe this is a big step,  clean-water advocates say more work needs to be done.



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