2019 BG Public Works Award - Milas and ReynoldsThe Village of Buffalo Grove and Forestry Manager Tom Milas were recently awarded the Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Award from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD).

The award recognizes sustainability efforts related to an aquatic nursery at one of the Village’s water pump stations, created in partnership with the Buffalo Grove Park District and the Buffalo Grove Environmental Action Team (BG EAT). The nursery grows native plants and restocks degraded natural zones, including detention areas and wetlands, as well as pond shorelines and streambanks in Buffalo Grove.

In 2019, the nursery expanded to include native shrubs and incorporated Exceptional Quality (EQ) Compost, an environmentally sustainable product that is derived from the water reclamation process. Aquatic plants and native shrubs were also planted in 2- to 5-gallon pots and will be installed and mulched with EQ Compost later this fall.

The Village and Park District use EQ Compost to mulch native planting beds at parks and Village sites. The material also was utilized to install and mulch native plantings at a recent public workday sponsored by the BG EAT.

Native plants provide many benefits for natural areas; their deep roots absorb and store surface water and infiltrate it into groundwater. They also take up excess nutrients and pollutants, in addition to trapping sediments, stabilizing soil and improving water quality. Foliage, flowers and seeds provide food and habitat for wildlife, especially birds and pollinators.

EQ Compost will continue to be used this fall to mulch native planting beds in the Village. Next year, the nursery will expand again to grow more native plants and further improve the diversity of natural areas in the Village. The MWRD has been producing EQ Biosolids for several years, which meet EPA guidelines, and in many cases, exceed the quality standards of material available commercially. On top of all of these benefits, EQ Biosolids are free.