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How to get free EQ Compost

Delivery -  Due to the success of the free compost program, orders are taking up to 10 weeks for delivery; a representative will contact you close to the delivery date. 

Delivery only available within MWRD boundaries within Cook County. 

Free EQ compost is available with free delivery to schools, non-profit organizations and residents with a 10 cubic yard minimum. If you can use 10 cubic yards or more, place an order here. After you place your order we will contact you to coordinate delivery.

Residential deliveries will be made on front driveway or vacant lot (no backyard delivery) and homeowner must be present. 

B.Y.O. Bucket 

If you need a smaller amount, bring your own buckets, bags and shovels to pick up free compost at six of our water reclamation plants. 

Click on a plant map for precise compost locations and time of availability. Available quantity changes frequently. 

Plant Location Availability
Calumet WRP 400 E. 130th Street, Chicago Available
Egan WRP 550 S. Meacham, Schaumburg Available
Hanover Park WRP 1220 Sycamore Ave., Hanover Park Available
Kirie WRP 701 W. Oakton St., Des Plaines Available
O’Brien WRP 3500 Howard Street, Skokie Not Available
Stickney WRP 6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero Available

Dump Truck Pick Up
If you prefer to pick up a dump truck’s worth of compost, please place an order here and specify "Pick-up" under special instructions. 

EQ Compost

The MWRD’s Exceptional Quality (EQ) Compost is a sustainable and environmentally beneficial product derived from the water reclamation process. The MWRD partners with the City of Chicago and other organizations by collecting woodchips from routine tree trimming programs and blending this with MWRD biosolids in open windrow machines. Woodchips, grass clippings and leaves are used as a bulking agent. The process raises the temperature of the biosolids and bulking agent mixture which destroys pathogens.

EQ Compost can be blended with topsoil and potting soil for establishing plants or used as a mulch around already established plants. EQ Compost supplies organic matter and improves the structure and porosity of soils which allows plants to more effectively utilize nutrients. Biosolids have been used to improve soil quality at popular destinations like Maggie Daley Park and the 606 Trail and on golf courses and athletic fields at both public parks and schools in the Chicago area for more than 20 years.



EQ Compost Analysis

Parameter Units Range EPA EQ Metal Limit Parameter Units Range EPA EQ Metal Limit
pH   6.5-7.6   Hg mg/kg 0.34-0.63 17
Dry Matter % 43-51   Ni mg/kg 21-43 420
As mg/kg <5 41 Pb mg/kg 40-51 300
Cd mg/kg 1.0-2.0 39 Se mg/kg <5 100
Cu mg/kg 187-401 1,500 Zn mg/kg 326-645 2,800

Is EQ Compost safe to use in vegetable gardens?

  • Our biosolids are properly treated and meet the U.S. EPA’s most stringent standards for use in all garden types.
  • The MWRD’s EQ compost is produced by composting wood chips with biosolids. Federal and state regulations designate EQ biosolids as a nutrient source and soil amendment that can be applied to land without restrictions for growing plants, including vegetables. Biosolids are rich in both organic matter and essential plant nutrients and are used in the Chicago area and throughout the U.S. as fertilizer and soil amendment for growing crops, ornamentals, trees and turfgrass.
  • EQ Compost meets Exceptional Quality (EQ) criteria, which is the highest quality standards for biosolids established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Please see EQ Compost Safety Data Sheet,  EQ Biosolids and the Biosolids and COVID-19 Fact Sheet (Español) for more information.

EQ Compost Guidelines

State law prohibits the application of EQ Compost on snow-covered or frozen ground. Additionally, EQ Compost must be applied in a manner that follows recommended application rates when used on agricultural land, and must be applied in a manner that follows best management practices to protect water quality when used on all other land.

Related Information

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter  (Español) - Summer 2020

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter - Winter 2021

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter  - Spring 2021

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter - Summer 2021

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2021

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter - Spring 2022

Biosolids/Compost Windy City Newsletter - Summer 2022