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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The MWRD hosts a seminar series at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant that is open to the public. These seminars are eligible for Professional Development Credits/CEUs.

Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance. Picture ID is required for plant entry. 

Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, Lue-Hing R&D Complex
6001 West Pershing Road
Cicero, IL 60804

Time: All seminars start at 10:30 a.m. CST

For additional information, please contact Dr. Heng Zhang, Assistant Director of Monitoring and Research, at 708-588-4264 or 708-588-4059 or email

Upcoming seminars

June 28, 2024               

Environmental Pathogen Engineering, Charles N. Haas, Ph.D., L.D. Betz Professor of Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

July 26, 2024               

A Pilot Study on Biotrickling Filters Using Synthetic Media for Design of Full-Scale Odor Control Facilities, Warner Song, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Engineer, Wastewater Research Section, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Whittier, California

August 23, 2024           

Phosphorus Assessment and Reduction Plan Study for the Chicago Area Waterway System, Rishab Mahajan, P.E., CFM, Senior Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants, Chicago, Illinois

September 27, 2024      

Phosphorus Management and Process Operation Optimization Using Machine Learning Modeling at Loudon WaterVirginia, Kendra Sveum, Director of Water Reclamation, Loudon Water, Ashburn, Virginia

October 25, 2024          

Sludge Densification Full-Scale Study at Metro Water Recovery in Denver, CO, Rudy Maltos, Ph.D., P.E., Staff Engineer, Technology and Innovation Division, Metro Water Recovery, Denver, Colorado

November 22, 2024     

Environmental Justice in Action at the MWRDGC, Edward Coleman, Human Resources Manager and Lolita Thompson, P.E., Principal Civil Engineer, Environmental Justice Section, MWRD

December 13, 2024      

Hydraulic Modeling of Transient Events in the MWRDGC Tunnel and Reservoir Plan System, Mason Throneburg, Co-Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Confluency, Chicago, and Louis Storino, P.E., BCEE Managing Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, MWRD

Seminar Archive

January 26, 2024
Climate Science to Actionable Urban Solutions, Dr. Ashish Sharma, Adjunct Professor/Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois

February 23, 2024  
Global Climate Change Impacts on Aquatic Communities of the Chicago Wilderness Area and Implications for Restoration Strategies, James Bland, Director, Environmental Products and Services, Inc., Third Lake, Illinois

March 29, 2024      
Interspecies Competition Between Nitrobacter and Nitrospira in Mainstream Nitritating Biological Nutrient Removal, Jason Mellin, Environmental Research Scientist, Monitoring and Research Department, MWRD

April 26, 2024             
20 Years of Stormwater Management for Cook County, Illinois, by the MWRD, Joseph Kratzer, P.E., CFM, Managing Civil Engineer, Stormwater Management Section, Engineering Department, MWRD

May 31, 2024 
Using Hyperspectral Remote Sensing on Farmland for Reducing Environmental Impacts, Dr. Yi Wang, Associate Professor/Sustainable Vegetable Production & Precision Agriculture, Department of Plant and Agroecosystem Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Madison

January 27, 2023
Updates on the Biosolids Management Program at the MWRDGC, Ahmad Laban, P.E., Managing Engineer, Maintenance and Operations Department, and Theresa Johnston, Senior Environmental Soil Scientist, Monitoring & Research Department, MWRDGC

February 24, 2023
Converting Rectangular and Circular Primary Tanks into an AAA Settler, Dr. Bernhard Wett, ARAconsult Gmbh, Innsbruck, Austria

March 31, 2023
The 50 Year History of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP), Patrick Jensen, P.E., Principal Civil Engineer, and Brian Wawczak, P.E., Senior Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, MWRDGC

April 28, 2023
USACE Planning Assistance to States, Chicago River Restoration Framework, Chuck Shea, P.E., PMP Project Manager, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District Office

May 26, 2023 
Revolving Algal Biofilm System for Nutrient Removal and Recovery, Dr. Zhiyou Wen, Director, Center for Crops Utilization Research, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

June 30, 2023 
Understanding and Embracing Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics, Dr. Kathryn B. Newhart, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York

July 28, 2023 
More Than Just Energy Savings: Understanding the Benefits of Low DO Operation Dr. Mark Miller, P.E., Senior Process Engineer, and Don Esping, Process Engineering Lead, Brown and Caldwell, Charlotte, North Carolina

August 25, 2023
Innovative City Adaptations to Climate Change, Dr. Şevin Yildiz, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

September 29, 2023 
Relating SARS-CoV-2 RNA Measured in Chicago-area Wastewater Treatment Plant and Cook County COVID-19 Public Health Data, Dr. Niall M. Mangan, Assistant Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

October 27, 2023 
Near to Real-Time Flood Forecasting: Towards Digital Twins at Urban Scales

November 17, 2023
Updates on the MWRDGC’s Phosphorus Removal Efforts, Dr. Joseph Kozak, P.E., Principal Environmental Scientist, Environmental Monitoring and Research Division, Monitoring & Research Department, MWRDGC

December 15, 2023 
The MWRDGC’s Update on the Climate Action Plan and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Dr. Kuldip Kumar, Principal Environmental Scientist, M&R Department, MWRDGC

January 28, 2022
Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19 – A Regional Effort, Rachel Poretsky, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

February 25, 2022
Regulating the Water Environment at the District and Beyond: A Brief Evolutionary History, Greg Yarnik, Supervising Environmental Specialist, Industrial Waste Division, Monitoring and Research Department, MWRDGC

March 25, 2022
Determination of Watershed Specific Release Rates, Greg Byard, Project Manager, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois

April 29, 2022
Use of Integrated Planning to Facilitate a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Renewal, Rajeev Kapur, Water Resources Program Manager, Clean Water Services, Regulatory Affairs Department, Hillsboro, Oregon

May 27, 2022
Operating the Stickney Water Reclamation Plan to Meet the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Limit for Total Phosphorus, Joseph Kozak, Principal Environmental Scientist, Monitoring and Research Department, and Joseph Cummings, Managing Engineer, Maintenance and Operations Department, Stickney Area, MWRDGC

June 24, 2022
How Are Biosolids Used and Managed in the United States? Results of the Second Comprehensive National Biosolids Survey, Ned Beecher, Special Projects Manager, North East Biosolids and Residuals Association, Tamworth, New Hampshire

July 29, 2022
Infiltration and Inflow Control at the City of Naperville, Tony Conn, Sr., Water Distribution & Collection Manager, Naperville Public Utilities-Water, Naperville, Illinois

August 31, 2022
Sustainable Water Supplies for Semi-arid Cities, Richard G. Luthy, Ph.D., Silas H. Palmer Professor, Department Civil Engineering, and Director, Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure, Stanford University, Stanford, California

September 30, 2022
Side-stream Enhanced Biologic Phosphorus Removal (S2EBPR) Pilot Test at the Calumet Water Reclamation District, Cindy Qin, Senior Environmental Research Scientist, Monitoring and Research Department, MWRDGC

October 28, 2022 - VIRTUAL
Digital Twin Development Implementation and Results for the Changi Water Reclamation Plant, Singapore, Bruce R. Johnson, Jacobs, Denver, Colorado

November 18, 2022 - VIRTUAL
Flood Reduction from Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Regional Stormwater Projects, Greg Koch, Principal Civil Engineer, Michael Cosme, Senior Civil Engineer, Justin Kirk, Senior Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, MWRDGC

December 9, 2022 - VIRTUAL
Water Quality in the Calumet Waterway System after the Thornton Composite Reservoir Went Online, Dustin Gallagher, Associate Aquatic Biologist, and Nicholas Kollias, Aquatic Biologist, Monitoring and Research Department, MWRDGC

January 29, 2021

Water Surveillance for COVID-19 – A National Science Foundation Study, Dr. Alexandria Boehm, Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California

February 26, 2021

Predictive Analytics: The Next Steps in Water Resource Recovery Facilities Operation and Optimization, Katya Bilyk, Senior Associate for Hazen and Sawyer, Raleigh, North Carolina

March 26, 2021

Nutrient Recovery Performance and the Optimization of Biological Phosphorus Removal at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, Dr. Gayathri Ram Mohan, Department of Water Resources, Gwinnett County Government, Lawrenceville, Georgia

April 30, 2021

Using Watershed-based Permitting Approaches to Address Excess Nutrients, Danielle Stephan, USEPA, Office of Wastewater Management, Water Permits Division, Washington, D.C.

May 28, 2021

Recent Advancements in Granular Activity Sludge Processes, Dr. Belinda Sturm, Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

June 25, 2021

Biochar in Soil and Environmental Applications, Dr. Wei Zheng, Principal Research Scientist/Adjunct Faculty, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

July 30, 2021

Urban Water Management for the 21st Century, Dr. Glen Daigger, Professor of Engineering Practice, University of Michigan Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 27, 2021

Bloom: Lessons in Biosolids Marketing and SalesApril Thompson, Director of Marketing and Sales, Bloom, Washington, D.C.

September 24, 2021

SUSTAINABILITY: Still Relevant or a Paradigm in Crisis, Dr. Kuldip Kumar, Principal Environmental Scientist, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

October 29, 2021 

Best Practices in Kinetic Rate Testing and Data Interpretation to Measure EBPR Health – A Water Research Foundation Study, Dr. Leon Downing (presenter), and Patrick Dunlap, Black and Veatch, and Dr. April Gu, Cornell University.

November 19, 2021

Planning for Regional Climate Change Impacts, Dr. Thomas A. Wall, Senior Infrastructure & Preparedness Analyst, Argonne National
Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois

December 10, 2021

An Update on the Five Years of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Trevor Sample, IEPA Coordinator on the Illinois NLRS Steering Committee, Springfield, Illinois

January 24, 2020

Pursuit of Energy Neutrality at the Downers Grove Sanitary District, Nick Menninga, General Manager, Downers Grove Sanitary District, Downers Grove, Illinois

February 21, 2020

Update on the District’s Stormwater Management Program, Joseph Kratzer, Managing Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

September 25, 2020

The Response of Microbial Communities in the Chicago Area Waterway to Major Infrastructure Changes in the Region, Dr. Cristina Negri, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois, and Dr. Jack Gilbert, Professor, University of California, San Diego, California

October 30, 2020

Advances in Kinetics, Mechanisms, and Detection of Viral Pathogens toward Developing Smart Water Disinfection SystemsBenito J. Mariñas, Ph.D., Ivan Racheff Endowed Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

November 20, 2020

Leading Water and Wastewater Utility Innovation, Jason Carter, Water Strategy and Innovation Leader, Arcadis, Birmingham, Alabama

December 11, 2020

Fox River Water Reclamation District’s Efforts on Reducing Phosphorus Discharge Load, Beth Vogt, P.E., Technical Services Director, Fox River Water Reclamation District, South Elgin, Illinois