Four Rivers Sanitation Authority recognized by Winnebago County on Earth Day


April 22, 2024

Contact: Danielle Grindle

Phone: (815) 319-4233

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ROCKFORD, Ill. - Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli celebrated Earth Day by honoring the team at Four Rivers Sanitation Authority (FRSA) for their continued environmental stewardship. Specifically, Chairman Chiarelli recognized FRSA's use of biogas, a natural production of waste management, into sustainable electricity used to run the plant.

FRSA takes their role as environmentalists seriously. On a daily basis, the plant processes 40,000 lbs. of waste including industrial runoffs, fats, oils, and household wastes, from dirty, "brown" water to water that meets and exceeds the clean water standards as defined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), before it is discharged into the Rock River. A valuable bi-product of the cleaning process is biogas, which is created during the digestion process and in turn, becomes the energy that runs the plant, accounting for two-thirds of the energy needs onsite, saving more than $1 million annually.

"The use of an alternative energy source allows Four Rivers to save on valuable resources like electricity while maintaining efficient operations," said Chairman Chiarelli. "This environmentally friendly approach to energy translates into savings for our constituents, as lower energy cost means less impact on the user rate. For more than 92 years, Four Rivers has been a committed environmental partner to the residents of Winnebago County. We thank them for their continued focus on protecting the watershed, finding alternative resources, and their focus on the future."

Recently recognized in the April 2024 edition of the Water Environment & Technology (WE&T) magazine as "Cultivating a Culture of Innovation," FRSA identifies as a leader in its commitment to protecting the environment through careful planning the thoughtful use of resources. As proud as FRSA is at their ability to power their operations with biogas, the team continues to focus on the future.

"We are exploring every opportunity to manage our energy expenses through alternative resources," said Four Rivers Sanitation Authority Executive Director Tim Hanson. "We are already looking at improvements to our biogas process that will increase efficiencies and savings. We are exploring the use of solar and have identified a location for our solar farm within our plant footprint, and we recycle biosolids into land application for feed corn. Improvements to our facility means that we can remove more nutrients, such as nitrogen & phosphorus from the water, before it is discharged into the Rock River. We're keeping a close eye on the PFAS crisis, knowing that it will soon be our responsibility to remove it from wastewater."

About Four Rivers Sanitation Authority: An early practitioner of environmental stewardship, FRSA provides wastewater treatment services covering nearly 100 square miles of Winnebago County and serves more than 240,000 people in the communities of Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Cherry Valley, New Milford, Village of Winnebago and a small part of Rockton and a number of unincorporated areas of Winnebago County.