Farmers are striving for cleaner water with a new water system

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GENESEO, Ill(KWQC)— People gathered around to watch the first woodchip bioreactor become installed in Henry County.

“It’s definitely been a learning process it’s kind of exciting. It was something I figured would be good for the environment,” according to farmer Todd VerHeecke.

VerHeecke said he hopes that by keeping the soil clean, it will help future generations of farmers.

“It’s something we're trying to be more cognizant of with our Illinois nutrient loss reduction strategy, to try to help produce that so that we don't have as many nutrients and going down to the Gulf of Mexico for that hypoxia zone,” said VerHeecke.

This is how the bioreactor works:

When it rains, some nitrates can enter the subsurface tile drain from the soil.

The nitrate bioreactor cleans most of the nitrates from the water to help the water quality of streams and rivers.

Officials said since most of Illinois water comes from the Mississippi, this method would help in that process.

According to Illinois State Conservation Engineer Ruth Book, she said the bioreactor has helped farmers achieved their goals in the nutrient loss reduction strategy.

“This can be beneficial to farmers who want to be a good citizen of the land. farmers are very interested in making sure that they take care of not only their own ground but also the ground underwater that is downstream of where they are,” said Book.

Those who came to see the demonstration said they liked what they saw. Resident Jim Yerkey said he is thinking of how to add a bioreactor on his land.

“I'm pleased with what I've seen here today and so it should work and everyone wants it to work,” said Yerkey.

Officials said the bioreactor is the first of many more to come for the state.

They hope more farmers will begin to implement them.