what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway


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what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: crowamonghens ()
Date: February 26, 2010 12:01AM

i have a feeling this is probably common knowledge here, but i'm going to ask anyway. on the south side of of i-55, between first ave and la grange, there are all these large, square ponds visible from the expressway. back in the day they looked like black "lakes" to me, covered with tar and in various stages of use. portions are hidden behind dilapidated fencing of varying eras. i'm sure it's got something to do with industrial waste, but what? who owns that land? what's the history of these?

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: Artista ()
Date: February 26, 2010 08:23AM

Hi Crow' I tried to see the 'ponds' on Google maps but no luck. Can you be a little more exact on location? thanks
never mind... FOUND THEM lol



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2010 09:15AM by Artista.

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: chicagodom ()
Date: February 26, 2010 08:34AM

Dirt has to be dug up to build the on/off ramps. The ponds are a result of the dirt being removed. That's why you see them near the ramps and not elsewhere.

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: February 26, 2010 05:20PM

Those are sludge drying pits used by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The processed sewerage must be dried before it can be shipped to it's final destination and it is brought to the pits from the MWRD facility at 39th and Central. Sludge can be used as land fill or fertilizer but will contain heavy metals so it will not be used for any land on which crops will be grown. If you are a gardener you may have seen Milorganite at the garden center, it's the same thing, dried sludge that is bagged and sold by the city of Milwaukee,WI.

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: crowamonghens ()
Date: February 26, 2010 07:35PM

THANKS, b.a. hoarder. awesome info. i always thought maybe it was waste pits from CPI across the canal.

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: bwalsh ()
Date: February 27, 2010 01:24PM

Yep, they are the sludge pits from MWRD. Ever drive over the LaGrange bridge on a hot, humid day and smell that, um, interesting odor that wafts up from the pits? I worked gate security there at 39th and Central one summer and they had a community open house. We got to take a 'scenic' train ride completely around the facility and out by these pits. When the sludge is dried out it is loaded onto trains which then take it down to its final destination somewhere in southern Illinois (can't remember the exact location). Behind the buildings along Laramie there are test fields where different plants are grown using the reclaimed sludge as fertilizer. It was really an interesting place to work. If there are ever any more of those Open House days, I would totally recommend visiting. They may have ended them after 9/11 though, unfortunately, but understandably.

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Re: what are those "ponds" along the stevenson anyway
Posted by: nick_archer ()
Date: June 12, 2010 02:47PM

bwalsh is right about the sludge. They also used to give the sludge away free to anyone who wanted it. They packaged it in 20 lb bags. My dad got several bags and spread them on our vegetable garden. I've never seen tomatoes and cucumbers like we grew that summer! The MWRD ended the program because of the heavy metals in the sludge. (At least that's what my dad told me!)

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