Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

Chicago Water Dept. tests tree-saving technology in Andersonville

CHICAGO (WLS) — More than a dozen trees in Andersonville are saved, thanks to a new pilot program the city of Chicago’s Water Department is implementing.

“These mature trees are one of the most valuable things that we have to keep us healthy,” said Lesley Ames, Andersonville tree committee member.

Last year, the water department was scheduled to complete routine sewage maintenance and drain removal. To do that, they’d have to cut down trees around the neighborhood, some of them more than 100 years old.

“It seemed to us to be an abnormal number of trees,” Tamara Schiller said. Schiller is also a member of the tree committee and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years.

“There were ten trees alone on my block, so we started looking into it and said, ‘Isn’t there something else that could be done?'” Schiller said.

“The more people found out about it, the more people came out into the street and wanted to find out what was going on,” Ames added.

People like Ames and Schiller talked to their neighbors, their alderman and the water department to find an alternative. After months of back and forth, they found one: a CIPP or cured-in-place-pipe.

“This pilot program is actually going to give us an opportunity to come up with new technology to allow us to not remove all the trees,” Water Department Commissioner, Randy Conner said.

So how exactly does it work?

“We’re taking a resin-filled sock and inserting it into the private drain. Then we will take ether air or water to expand that sock that it will form to the shape of the private drain itself,” Conner said.

If successful, the process could be used to help preserve trees all around the city, depending on the situation.

“Will this be a fix-all for every location? It won’t be. But it’ll give us another tool in the tool box,” Conner said.

The city started the pilot program in Nov. and doesn’t have an end date just yet. Conner said he expects to see results from the program in about six months.

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