Illinois

Food Scrap Composting Challenges and Solutions in Illinois

This report is designed to educate elected officials, composting industry stakeholders and advocates, and the public at-large about opportunities and strategies related to developing a robust food scrap composting industry in Illinois. This report and the Executive Summary of Recommendations support the work of the Task Force on the Advancement of Materials Recycling, and include recommendations already being addressed by the Task Force – including the SB850 transfer station pilot program, Illinois food labeling and national labeling standards, state procurement policy requiring the use of Illinois compost, and compost site permitting revisions.

The IFSC intentionally decided to limit the scope of the report to food scrap composting, while fully recognizing and supporting the role of food scraps in the creation of renewable energy and other useful by-prod­ucts through the utilization of anaerobic digestion as an alternative to composting.

  • Background: The MSW and Composting Landscape
  • The Benefits of Composting
  • The Importance of Composting for Illinois
  • Food Scrap Composting Model Policies and Programs
  • Compost Quality Standards and Economic Potential
  • Analysis
  • Challenges and Solutions

2015 IGEN Sustainability Conference

Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN)
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 10:00 AM - Friday, January 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM (CST)
Normal, IL
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-igen-sustainability-conference-tickets-14420643533

The Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) is hosting a statewide conference on January 29 – 30, 2015 at Heartland Community College in Normal, IL. The purpose of the two-day conference is for representatives from Illinois community colleges and communities to come together and exchange successes and lessons learned to advance sustainability across the state.

We have secured a block of rooms at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center for Thursday, January 29, located at 201 Broadway Street in Normal. The room rate is $70/night. Please reference the Illinois Green Economy Network to receive the reduced rate. Please make your reservation by Wednesday, January 7.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Please contact igen.administrative.team@igencc.org with any questions.

NOTE: If you are interested in being a sponsor for the conference, please notify us at igen.administrative.team@igencc.org.

 

Illinois Coastal Management Program Grants

The Illinois Coastal Management Program is accepting applications for Illinois Coastal Grants for environmental education and outreach projects and sustainable coastal planning projects. New for this year will be proposals for habitat restoration projects and small grants. Application materials are available at the Illinois Coastal Grant Program Website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/cmp/Pages/grants.aspx. Applications will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 15, 2014. All potential applicants are invited to sign up for a one-on-one consultation about your project idea. Email Lisa Cotner at lisa.cottner@illinois.gov for more information.

Microplastic is an Abundant and Distinct Microbial Habitat in an Urban River

Amanda McCormick, Timothy J. Hoellein, Sherri A. Mason, Joseph Schluep, and John J. Kelly (2014). “Microplastic is an Abundant and Distinct Microbial Habitat in an Urban River.” Environmental Science & Technology Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/es503610r.

Abstract: Recent research has documented microplastic particles (< 5 mm in diameter) in ocean habitats worldwide and in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Microplastic interacts with biota, including microorganisms, in these habitats, raising concerns about its ecological effects. Rivers may transport microplastic to marine habitats and the Great Lakes, but data on microplastic in rivers is limited. In a highly urbanized river in Chicago, Illinois, USA, we measured concentrations of microplastic that met or exceeded those measured in oceans and the Great Lakes, and we demonstrated that wastewater treatment plant effluent was a point source of microplastic. Results from high-throughput sequencing showed that bacterial assemblages colonizing microplastic within the river were less diverse and were significantly different in taxonomic composition compared to those from the water column and suspended organic matter. Several taxa that include plastic decomposing organisms and pathogens were more abundant on microplastic. These results demonstrate that microplastic in rivers are a distinct microbial habitat and may be a novel vector for the downstream transport of unique bacterial assemblages. In addition, this study suggests that urban rivers are an overlooked and potentially significant component of the global microplastic life cycle.

U.S. EPA Approves Carbon Sequestration Permit in Decatur, Illinois

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a permit allowing the Archer Daniels Midland Company to inject carbon dioxide deep underground in Decatur, Illinois. This process – known as “carbon sequestration” – is a means of storing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

ADM plans to capture carbon dioxide produced by an ethanol manufacturing facility. ADM’s goal is to capture and inject 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Sequestering 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year is the equivalent of eliminating carbon emissions from over 230,000 cars.

U.S. EPA completed a technical review of the Class VI permit and responded to over 100 public comments before approving the permit. ADM can begin drilling the well in November in preparation for injecting liquefied carbon dioxide. ADM must demonstrate the integrity of the well before injecting carbon dioxide and conduct extensive monitoring at the location.

ADM is the second facility in the nation to receive a Class VI underground injection permit for carbon sequestration. In August, U.S. EPA issued four Class VI permits for a FutureGen Alliance facility in downstate Illinois.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/region5/water/uic/adm/.

Illinois professors and students study community resilience around polluted waterways

Read the full story in Inside Illinois.

There’s no such thing as a good place to have a natural disaster, nor has there ever been an appropriate site to release toxic pollutants. But scientists have long recognized that some areas can handle such catastrophes better than others. As early as the 1970s, they used socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census to develop a tool called the Social Vulnerability Index, known as SoVI, to gauge the likely resilience of different communities.

Now a team of professors and graduate students at the University of Illinois is testing and tweaking the SoVI model by studying at a more granular level the communities around two polluted Midwest waterways. Bethany Cutts, a professor of natural resources and environmental sciences, and Andrew Greenlee, a professor ofurban and regional planning, received a two-year Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant to study communities around the Lincoln Park-Milwaukee Estuary and portions of the Grand Calumet River south of Chicago, both designated “areas of concern” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Construction Begins at a Carbon-Capture Plant, but Will It Ever Be Completed?

Read the full story in MIT Technology Review.

After a decade of stop-and-start efforts and a $1 billion federal pledge, construction of the country’s most hyped project for capturing carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant and storing it underground has finally begun. But even now, the project, called FutureGen, faces hurdles. An environmental group has brought a lawsuit against the project that threatens to undermine the additional funding needed to see the job through.