Dixon looking to turn human waste into oil - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Dixon looking to turn human waste into oil


Out of sight,  but not out of mind. Your waste might someday serve a purpose, after you send it on it's way.

City of Dixon Mayor Jim Burke says a proposed system would collect those solids, and grow algae on it, which is later harvested and turned into oil.

"It can be done, there isn't any question about the ability to turn algae into oil, that's already been proven," says Burke.

What hasn't been tried is using a system like this on a municipal water treatment center. If the plan moves forward, Dixon would be the first in the country to have it. If it works taxpayers could catch a break on how much money they paw towards the wastewater facility.

The Dixon wastewater treatment facility was rebuilt as recently as 2002. Burke says it wouldn't be all that difficult to adapt it to the pilot program.

Oil created from the system would be sold to make biofuel. Something some residents, like Leanne Hall, say they can side with.  "If you can do it with human waste, why not? If it leaves us any less dependant on foreign oil," says Hall.

But Larry Dunphy, a local business owner, still has a few questions. "Sounds like a great idea, but I'd have to wonder why you would select  a town like of 15,000 people. Why wouldn't you want a larger city to try this on?," he asks.

Questions Burke hopes to answer in due time. The idea is still in the beginning phases of discussion.

"We're going to approach the governor's office about it and  the EPA," says Burke. "There's a lot of unknowns with it and that's why I think we need the government to get involved in this thing rather than the city of Dixon shoulder the whole expense."

It's unclear at this time how much money could come from the program.

Mayor Burke adds, the plan would also help to keep phosphorous out of the Rock River.

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