LINCOLN SQUARE — Neighbors near Winnemac Park have noticed a certain aroma — described as a "kitty litter box" smell by some — emanating from the green space recently.
Hey, don't go throwing shade on cats. This is a pure case of he who smelt it, dealt it.
That's human poo creating the stink.
More accurately, it's an organic fertilizer known as biosolids produced by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
Patty Wetli says if it doesn't end up in fertilizer, it'll end up in a landfill:
The material is created by removing solids from the city's waste stream and treating them to eliminate bacteria, parasites and other pathogens.
The result is a fertilizer that looks like dirt and is rich in plant nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus.
"We have seen great results from it in terms of the health of the grass," said Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.
The biosolids are routinely spread at a number of parks, she added.
According to the MWRD, the biosolids "meet all regulatory safety standards for direct contact."
An FAQ provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates biosolids, says they're used in all 50 states and have been recycled by gardeners and farmers "for ages."
"Thirty years ago, thousands of American cities dumped their raw sewage directly into the nation's rivers, lakes, and bays," the FAQ states. "Through regulation of this dumping, local governments are now required to ... recycle biosolids as fertilizer, incinerate it, or bury it in a landfill."
Chicago has opted to not let your waste go to waste.
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