Brazilian Students, Water Treatment Operators Tour Kirie Water Reclamation Plant

Tour introduced Sao Paulo Partners of the Americas to MWRD's energy-saving heating & cooling system & water reclamation processes

A group of students and treatment plant operators representing the Illinois-Sao Paulo (SP) Partners of the Americas and Botucatu' SP Brazil recently toured the Kirie Water Reclamation Plant in Des Plaines to learn about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s (MWRD) energy-saving heating and cooling system and water reclamation processes.

The MWRD activated a new sewerthermal system in an effort to reduce energy usage for heating and cooling at the plant. According to MWRD Commissioner Frank Avila, the system is expected to lower maintenance expenses to provide cost savings to the district for years to come.

“This is established technology but its application is novel as the recovery of heat from treated water is not commonly practiced,” said Commissioner Avila. “The sewerthermal heat pump system works by transferring heat from a lower temperature carrier to a higher temperature carrier. In the winter, the system extracts heat from the effluent to heat the buildings, and in the summer the heat is transferred into the water to cool the building.”

The Kirie WRP has a capacity of 100 million gal per day and operates 24/7, 52 weeks per year.  It serves a 65.2 sq mile area and approximately 217,000 people. The plant's effluent has an average temperature of 55°F and an average daily flow of 41 million gal per day in 2011.

“We had an excellent tour of the James C. Kirie plant and received a valuable explanation of the entire operation of the Chicago area water reclamation system,” said Mike Lofstrom, IL-SP Partners of the Americas. “The main objective was to introduce our Sao Paulo Partners of the Americas to North American water treatment facilities. We have accumulated a great deal of information.”

The sewerthermal system will be used instead of natural gas for heating and electricity for conventional air conditioning. The only energy used is the electricity needed to pump the water. It is, therefore, substantially less energy intensive than conventional heating and air conditioning and is expected to reduce the building’s heating and air conditioning costs by 50%.



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