Chicago Joins EPA in Strategic Environmental Project

Dec. 28, 2000

Chicago's Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Project XL, a national initiative testing innovative ways of public health and environmental protection.

The goal of Project XL (which stands for eXcellence and Leadership) in Chicago is to work with local publicly owned treatment works and explore innovative ways to reduce pollutants entering local wastewater treatment plants and the Chicago River. The result of the project would contribute to the improvement of the National Pretreatment Program.

The MWRD is an independent government entity and treats wastewater from domestic, commercial and industrial sources in the Chicago area.

Under the agreement, MWRD will reduce reporting for small industrial companies with good compliance records and will redirect resources to other activities with greater potential for environmental benefit. MWRD will establish partnerships with local metal finishers, who comprise more than 70 percent of the small industrial users regulated under MWRD's pretreatment program. Together, they will work to reduce pollutants in wastewater discharged to the treatment plants operated by MWRD.

This approach builds upon the National Strategic Goals Program for metal finishers, established under EPA's Common Sense Initiative to improve sector-wide environmental performance. EPA, the state agency, MWRD and interested stakeholders will also work to identify and reduce pollutants, such as chlorinated solvents that have the potential to harm water quality but currently are not regulated. MWRD will attempt to reduce these pollutants through pollution prevention strategies and consumer education.

Project XL encourages testing better and cheaper ways to attain environmental results than those achieved under current regulations and policies. To participate in the program, an applicant must develop strategies that produce superior environmental results beyond those that would have been achieved under current regulations and policies. More information is available at: .

(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

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