Eighteen different projects organized by 22 different county Farm Bureaus in Illinois will collaborate with other local groups in a continued effort to improve water quality throughout the state. Illinois Farm Bureau awarded nearly $100,000 in grants as part of an effort that will require rural and urban areas to address the issue. Lauren Lurkins serves as director of environmental and natural resources for the Illinois Farm Bureau;
It's all part of an effort to make continued progress on what's known as the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy required by the federal EPA. The ultimate goal is to reduce a so-called "hypoxic" or dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Lurkins says it will require action not only by farmers but urban wastewater treatment plans as well;
Chicago's treated waste water still includes some of the largest amounts of phosphorus making its way into Illinois streams and rivers. Its water reclamation district installed technology last summer to extract the nutrient from waste water and turn it into pellets that can potentially used as fertilizer on farm fields and other uses.