Resource Recovery

Resource recovery is fast becoming an essential part of the water and wastewater sector.

IMI is deeply committed to partnering with companies and municipalities to develop and implement innovative technologies to treat wastewater and manage stormwater, technologies that protect our environment and benefit taxpayers.

At Independent Mechanical Industries, Inc. (IMI) environmental responsibility is not a new concept or recent practice. Since 1923, IMI has been a part of society’s development of sustainable practices from treating water and waste water, to filtering the air in heating and cooling systems, to converting boiler fuel systems.

From Waste Water to Resource Recovery

Wastewater is no longer wasted but is more accurately being redefined as “resource water” because of the many resources that can be extracted and reused. Consequently, wastewater treatment is evolving into water resource recovery and instead works to recover energy, organic matter, and other resources out of the recovered water. This new phase in water treatment is being driven by the need for a more efficient and cost-effective process that reduces energy consumption, and also the need to preserve non-renewable nutrients such as phosphorus and other minerals, and the need to minimize these pollutants entering our water supply.

Many other resources are wasted by the inefficient design and operating practices which are currently used for extracting water from and returning water to, the environment. Water resource recovery, in particular, has a large carbon footprint, consuming 0.6% of total energy generation in the US. It is estimated that the potential for energy generation from wastewater is 5 times the amount of energy required to treat it.

Phosphorus Recovery

Not only is Phosphorus a non-renewable resource that is quickly dwindling, it is also considered a pollutant when an excessive amount enters our waterways. Transforming our water treatment plants into nutrient recovery facilities creates cleaner waterways locally and abroad, creates a product that becomes a revenue stream and is usable in our agriculture, and replenishes our dwindling supply of phosphorus while minimizing the potential for harmful algae blooms.

IMIs work on the MWRD’s Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, located in Cicero, Illinois is an award-winning example of this process. The project transformed the largest wastewater treatment facility in the world into a resource recovery facility, and resulted in the largest nutrient recovery facility in the world, pioneering this critical industry shift from water treatment to recovery for reuse. This solution will ultimately help protect the Mississippi River Basin and provide a revenue stream to the District from the sale of the high value phosphorus fertilizer recovered, and richly illustrates how innovation combined with decades of water and wastewater treatment expertise can produce new efficiencies as well as wins for the environment.

Stormwater Management

Stormwater management protects the quality of the water supply source by improving and protecting the quality of water in watercourses, protecting businesses and homes from flood damages, and managing water as a vital resource.

The McCook Reservoir is one of the final components of TARP, one of the largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. It is the result of tremendous collaboration in support of an overarching goal to protect the environment.

IMI was involved in the planning, design, engineering and construction support on various aspects of MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) since 2001, including design and construction services for the McCook Main Tunnel System (MTS) that connects TARP’s Mainstream Tunnel to the McCook Reservoir.

This project greatly improved the quality of Chicago’s rivers and made them more accessible and enjoyable for residents and visitors.