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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

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
Join the meeting virtually 

Seminar Archive

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

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

January 25, 2019

The Development, Implementation, and Recent Progress of the Fulton County Nutrient Loss Reduction Program Under the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Guanglong Tian, Ph.D., Principal Environmental Scientist, Monitoring and Research Department, Environmental Monitoring and Research Division, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

February 22, 2019

Lessons Learned on Erosion Control in Shoreline Restoration, Robert J. Kirschner, Director of Restoration Ecology, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois

March 29, 2019

Green Infrastructure Implementation at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, James Yurik, Principal Civil Engineer, and John Watson, Associate Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, Stormwater Management Section, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

April 26, 2019

Operating a Membrane Facility for Decades at the Orange County Water District and Groundwater Replenishment System, Michael R. Markus, P.E., D.WRE, BCEE, F.ASCE, General Manager, Orange County Water District, Fountain Valley, California

May 31, 2019

Taking Ammonia-Based Aeration Control to the Next Level, Wendy Anderson, Senior Engineer, Technology & Innovation Division,   Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, Denver, Colorado

June 28, 2019

Biosolids Market Analysis for a Strategic Long-Term Biosolids Management Program at Charlotte Water, Irene Teshamulwa Okioga (Tesha) P.E., Ph.D., LEED AP, ENV SP, Senior Engineering Project Manager, Charlotte Water, Charlotte, North Carolina

July 26, 2019

Assessing the Impacts of Return Activated Sludge Fermentation on Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Performance and Associated Microbial Ecology, Erik R. Coats, P.E., Ph.D., Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho

August 23, 2019

Challenges of Delivering Drinking Water to the City of New York, Paul V. Rush, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Supply, New York City, New York

September 20, 2019

Sludge-Fermentation Based Side-Stream Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Enables Sustainable Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal with Carbon/Energy Recovery, April Gu, Ph.D., Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

October 25, 2019

Let the Water Flow:  Lessons Learned from the Startup of the new Westside Aerated Grit Facility and Primary Settling Tanks at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, Paul D. O’Brien, P.E. Principal Civil Engineer, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

November 22, 2019

Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal at the Kirie Water Reclamation Plant: A Holistic Workplan with Step-By-Step Implementation to Achieve Treatment Goals with Minimum Infrastructure Investment, Fenghua Yang, P.E., BCEE, Senior Environmental Research Scientist, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

December 13, 2019

Mainstream Short-Cut Biological Nitrogen Removal Coupled with Biological Phosphorus Removal, George Wells, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, McCormick School of Engineering, Evanston, Illinois

January 26, 2018

Water Quality Monitoring in Illinois Rivers, William A. Battaglin, Research Hydrologist, United States Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado

February 23, 2018

Assessing the Load Reduction of Endocrine Active Compounds After Disinfection at the Terrence J. O’Brien and Calumet Water Reclamation Plants and the Biological Effects on Fish, Dr. Heiko L. Schoenfuss, PhD, Professor of Anatomy, Director, Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota

March 23, 2018

Nutrient Trading as A Useful Tool for Nutrient Management at Watershed Scale, Cy Jones, Senior Fellow with the World Resources Institute, Washington D. C.

April 27, 2018

Development and Implementation of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s Resource Recovery Ordinance, Gregory Yarnik, Supervising Environmental Specialist, Dr. Joseph Kozak, PhD, PE, Supervising Environmental Research Scientist, and Matthew McGregor, Principal Engineer, MWRDGC, Chicago, Illinois

May 25, 2018

Impact of the Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Processes on Digested Sludge Dewatering, Dr. Matthew J. Higgins, Ph.D, Professor, and Claire W. Carlson, Chair in Environmental Engineering, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Eng., Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

June 29, 2018

Selection of Thermal Hydrolysis Pretreatment Technology for Anaerobic Digestion at Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District, Ms. Zonetta English, Research Manager and Alex E. Novak, P.E., Treatment Facilities Director, at Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sanitary District, Louisville, Kentucky

July 27, 2018

Climate-Resilient Water Management in New York City, Alan Cohn, Managing Director, Integrated Water Management, New York, New York

August 24, 2018

Crisis Communication and Management, Jason Hughes, Director, Utility Services (Water), Department of Water Services, DC Water

September 14, 2018

Microalgal Bioprocesses for Nutrient Recovery from Wastewater, Dr. Jeremy Guest, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

October 26, 2018

Searching for Life and Habitability in the Solar System, Bobak Ferdowsi, Systems Engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

November 30, 2018

Microplastic in Urban Streams: Abundance, Source, and Microbial Interactions, Timothy Hoellein, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

December 14, 2018

Update on the District's Stormwater Management Program, Joseph Kratzer, Managing Civil Engineer, Engineering Department, MWRDGC, Chicago, Illinois