Soccer fields in Veeck Park that once were buried under enormous piles of dirt, are slated to re-open this spring and a deal to use treated human waste as fertilizer willl make the fields green and healthy, Hinsdale officials said.
The three fields were closed throughout 2012 for re-sodding and rehabilitation after the dirt was removed, said Gina Hassett, director of parks and recreation. She said the fields will reopen for play by late March or early April.
The reopening of the fields will mark the end of a three-year saga that challenged the village to find ways to rid the park of the mounds of dirt.
The piles accumulated after the village was required in 2008 to build storm water construction project underground on the northeast side of the park.
The fields, which are used by the American Youth Soccer Organization and Falcon Football, also had garnered complaints about quality.
"They said the ground was hard and they didn't drain well," Hassett said.
Because of the dirt on or near some fields, Hassett said other fields were used more often.
"The fields were damaged due to heavy use on the same locations, especially at the goal mouths," she said.
In a move that Hassett said saved about $10,000, the village used free biosolids provided by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to restore the fields.
Biosolids are a nutrient-rich, highly organic material developed through the process of treating wastewater.
Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, chairman of the MWRD's Monitoring and Research Committee, said the MWRD biosolids pose no health hazards and are a safe byproduct of the water treatment process that can be used to improve soil fertility and soil moisture holding capacity, she said.
Other uses include fertilizing agricultural land, providing organic matter and nutrients to sod farms and nurseries, and for construction of golf courses, parks, and athletic fields, she said.
Allison Fore, a public affairs specialist for the MWRD, said the agency distributes the biosolids to other local public entities that can use them because it saves the district money.
"We can truck it closer rather than farther away," she said.
The agency produces more than 150,000 dry tons of the treated human waste every year. The biosolids are especially beneficial for re-use due to their nutrient-rich organic material, Fore said.
Fore said the district also has a soil specialist who can advise on how best to apply the material.
Hinsdale is using the biosolids in other heavily used areas as well.
"This fall the village top-dressed the athletic fields and park spaces around other areas in the community," said Hassett. "We chose to go this route rather than put down fertilizer with a contractor. We plan to continue this practice."
Any costs of rehabbing the fields are being shared by the village, AYSO and Falcon Football, which are the main users.