Gifford first municipality in Illinois to use nitrate-removal system

By EMMA STOCKING
and DAVE HINTON


GIFFORD — A bioreactor system that will remove nitrates from Gifford’s wastewater stream will likely go on line in about a month.

David Atchley, engineer with the village’s civil engineering firm MSA Professional Services, Champaign, told the Gifford Village Board at its monthly meeting that construction is close to completion.

The bioreactor, which will cost the village about $332,000, is far less expensive than alternative options for nitrate removal. Atchley said Gifford’s system is the first of its kind used by a municipality in Illinois. It is being watched closely by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and other communities to gauge its effectiveness.

The village was under pressure from Illinois EPA to filter out nitrates from water due to new regulations.

The bioreactor is essentially a trench filled with wood chips and is an extra filtration method connected to the wastewater treatment plant.

Atchley said University of Illinois professors have assisted with  the project. He said some cattle farms have used bioreactors for their operations.

“It’s a product that’s only semi known and hasn’t been used much,” Atchley said. “There are three or four different types of denitrification systems. EPA has a very keen interest in it.”

Atchley said other options to denitrify the wastewater would have cost the village at least double “if not more.”

“Phosphates, nitrates, any kind of fertilizer — a lot of that comes from farm ground,” the engineer said. “That’s one reason they would like to see the farmers use it because it would reduce the nitrate runoff from the farm fields.”

He said the nitrates come from ammonia.

“It’s a natural byproduct,” he said.

Village trustees asked Atchley why more of the dirt around the bioreactor hadn’t been removed as previously agreed to.

Atchley said that problem will be taken care of.

In other business,

For the upcoming Gifford Celebration June 29 and 30, there will once again be fences placed between two of the local bars that will close Main Street for the event. Only people 21 years or older will be allowed to enter this section.

Also, the village has plans for gravel to be spread on South Street.

The local Lions club also donated seven trees to the town to be planted in various locations.

news@rantoulpress.com

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