Argonne participating in Chicago water microbe study

Published: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 2:17 p.m. CDT

LEMONT – Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are partnering with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to research the microbial content in Chicago area waterways, according to a MWRD news release.

The entire study will take seven years and will record the changes that happen as the MWRD takes steps to manage its outflow.

The agencies will be measuring and recording changes in microbial communities as the MWRD begins disinfecting its secondary treated water at the O’Brien and Calumet Water Reclamation Plants and as parts of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan at the Thornton and McCook reservoirs are completed.

Argonne scientists will analyze samples taken monthly from the Chicago River during the recreational season, between March and November, and run them through a DNA sequencer to identify and count the microbes in the river.

Argonne scientists hope to better understand how certain microbes can affect the bacteria in the water.

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