Waste water options being considered

Published 05/31 2013 05:31PM

Updated 06/02 2013 09:13PM

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- The Champaign-Urbana Sanitary District may have found a use for its treated waste water. A Delaware chemical company wants to buy it. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw finds out more.

The company, Cronus Chemical, is looking to build a plant in Tuscola. The treated waste water would be used to cool machinery. But, the proposal is still in the works and it's causing some controversy.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. The CU Sanitary District could make more than $1-million from the treated waste water.

"It is water that's going to be gone from this area generally anyway."

Right now, the water feeds into creeks. It's treated, but can't be used for drinking which is part of the reason the district is looking into selling it.

If Cronus Chemical builds a plant in Tuscola, it will need water. District officials say it keeps the company from using potable water.

"This is actually protecting groundwater, by getting a second use of water that's going into the creeks."

But, not everyone is on board. Environmental groups, like the Prairie Rivers Network says the waste water plays an important role.

"It's not allowing for recharge."

The plant would need about six million gallons a day. The group worries that much would upset those ecosystems.

"Talk to aquatic biologists. Talk to hydrologists. Say, 'if we removed this water, what is the impact?'
That's what we'd like to see. We'd like to see a well-considered policy and more interaction with groups like ours and the public."

The sanitary district puts out about 20-million gallons a day. That number will only go up. The six million gallons it wants to sell shouldn't make a difference, and there are plans to make sure it won't.

"We must keep minimum water going to the creek to keep the fish wet and happy. If there's not enough water for the creek and the industry, it's the industry that suffers."

Those environmental groups are still worried this could have a big long-term effect. They want to make sure the sanitary district isn't rushing into things.

The fertilizer plant isn't a done deal. Neither is this proposal to sell waste water. The board will take another look in June.

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