Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



Argonne, MWRD complete first phase of Chicago River study
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Friday, October 28, 2016
Special to suffredin.org
by MWRD

Argonne, MWRD complete first phase of Chicago River study

Early data shows healthy, diverse microbial community

Scientists with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory are halfway through a groundbreaking seven-year study that is showing early indications of healthy and diverse microbial communities in the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).

Argonne and the MWRD released a mid-term report that highlights baseline data and begins to explore how the MWRD's new developments in water quality innovation are making a difference in the quality of the CAWS. The CAWS Microbiome Study examines the complex microbial communities in the CAWS using advanced analytical and computational tools to explore what micro-organisms are in the CAWS, where they came from and what are they doing.

The early results indicate that Chicago area waterways have healthy and diverse microbial communities. Like many other river systems, the communities vary in their makeup based on location and a variety of other factors but are generally stable.

By sequencing the genes of bacteria from the rivers, researchers made some interesting finds. For example, genes from the E. coli present in the samples were found to be predominantly non-virulent.

"We are excited to be partnering with Argonne National Laboratory on this pivotal study that will examine the microbial content of our waterways and as a result, tell us more about the quality of this improving water," said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. "Given the progress we have made in the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) and new disinfection facilities that came into service over the past year, we have the chance to examine how our work has made a difference in the water."

Since 2013, Argonne scientists have been analyzing samples taken monthly from 16 different sites in the CAWS during the recreational season, between March and November, and running them through a DNA sequencer to identify and count the microbes in the river.

"Repeating the sampling multiple times is critical because we need to understand if and how the river's inhabitants change with time and space," said Argonne environmental scientist Cristina Negri. "We want to find out how the microbial communities may change with the season, after rainfall, during temperature swings, after large discharges, after sewer overflows, or even as a result of boats churning up the sediments as they pass and redistribute the microbes."

The MWRD-sponsored work measures and records changes in microbial communities in the CAWS as the MWRD undertakes new efforts to improve the water system. The MWRD began disinfecting secondary treated water at the O'Brien and Calumet Water Reclamation Plants earlier this year. The Thornton Composite Reservoir went online in 2015, and the first phase of the McCook Reservoir - parts of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan - is almost completed.

"The river has become substantially cleaner over the past several decades, thanks to many interventions, but we still don't have a very thorough understanding of what lives there," said Jack Gilbert, an Argonne environmental microbiologist. "Our study looks at all bacteria and viruses, pathogenic or not, by sequencing the genomes of the whole community and using our computational might to sort through who is there and what they are doing. This is important because all these species interact with one another in the water -- perhaps there's another microbe or condition that triggers blooms of bad bacteria."

The full study will be completed in 2019 and will record the improvements that occur as the MWRD takes steps to manage its outflow. As it approached the midpoint of the project, Argonne submitted a Phase I draft report which will undergo peer review prior to release. The report provides a baseline assessment of microbial communities before disinfection was implemented.

Microbial communities are key players in maintaining the health of the CAWS. Traditional laboratory culture methods, such as fecal bacteria counts, have been extensively used to characterize the CAWS microbial quality for regulatory purposes. Because these methods cannot determine the sources of any contaminants, genetic analysis performed by Argonne can improve the understanding of the composition and sources of the microbial population.

In the long term, this work will provide another layer of information to enable good stewardship and management of this important water resource, as well as to gain insight into how to improve water quality for primary contact recreation uses.

Negri and her colleagues are creating a hydrological model of the river that incorporates the microbial data, laying out how water flows from different sources and how rain events, water flow and environmental conditions affect bacterial diversity and count.

"This work will provide a more genomic science-based understanding of the microbial health of the Chicago area waterways and should help us understand the sources of microbes that we currently recognize during fecal indicator bacteria monitoring," said Geeta K. Rijal, MWRD Supervising Environmental Microbiologist.

A link to a video describing the study can be found at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/222h9xpdvn48gih/RiversFINAL2.mp4?dl=0.

About Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future.

# # #

About the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Established in 1889, the MWRD (www.mwrd.org) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.

Media Contact

Allison Fore

Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer
312-751-6626

allison.fore@mwrd.org



Recent Headlines

Special prosecutor billed Cook County nearly 50K for Van Dyke murder case
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board votes in favor of $4 million settlement in Stroger medical malpractice case
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Judge bucks Cook County law, says boys as young as 10 can be locked up
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Village of Northbrook Opts Back In to the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance
Monday, October 15, 2018
National Law Review

Chicago health system to add 240+ jobs
Monday, October 15, 2018
Becker's Hospital Review

Fired doctor sues county, loses whistleblower claim
Friday, October 12, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County health system to add jobs
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

No layoffs or tax hike in mayoral hopeful Preckwinkle’s proposed county budget
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

'Inclusionary' housing ordinance rewrite advances
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Evanston Now

Faced with tight budgets, more Illinois counties merge clerk, recorder offices
Monday, October 08, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Class action: Hundreds of Cook Sheriff officer suspensions invalid, because State's Attorney not involved
Friday, October 05, 2018
Cook County Record

One Cook County judge bucks chief judge’s order against unaffordably high bail
Monday, October 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Game of thrones? Watchdog sees ‘scheme to defraud’ in Pritzker toilet tax break
Monday, October 01, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County Board approves $31M election equipment contract despite lawsuit; $11M to settle 2 malpractice lawsuits
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

County approves new election equipment contract, despite rival firm’s lawsuit
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Top prosecutor Kim Foxx apologizes as 18 convictions linked to corrupt cop vacated
Monday, September 24, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP