The Freedom of Information Act Procedures
  The following are Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago guidelines regarding requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, effective January 1, 2010. Please note that the Act has some significant changes, especially in regards to the allotted response time and procedures for commercial requests.
Effective July 1, 2011, requests for information regarding previously issued Sewerage System Permits (Sewer Permits) and documents (calculations, drawings and exhibits) do not need to be made by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests but can be addressed directly to our Permit Inquiry Inbox at An email describing the location in question and a location map with the project site will initiate a search for sewer permits in that area. Please provide a contact person and phone number. Please be aware that the MWRD does not issue sewer permits within the City of Chicago unless a direct connection is made to an MWRD intercepting sewer or other facility. Contact the City’s Department of Water Management for such requests.

Requests for information regarding Discharge Authorizations and User Charge fees, which are administered by the Monitoring and Research Department, will still need to be made through a FOIA request.

Note that requests for information that involve multiple Departments such as Engineering, Law and Monitoring and Research will still require a FOIA request.

To track the status of your FOIA request click here.

  •  A written request to obtain copies of or to view materials may be submitted by mail, facsimile, or email directed to:

Helen Shields-Wright
FOIA Officer

Mail to:
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
100 East Erie Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Fax: 312-751-6598

File a Freedom of Information Act Request by Email (

  • Request must be specific. For example, please list RFQ numbers, Permit numbers, Contract numbers or any other specific details in the body of the message.
  • Name of person requesting information, company, agency, group or club name, address and phone number must be stated.
  • The response time for general requests has been reduced from 7 business days to 5 business days according to Section 3d of the Freedom of Information Act.
  • According to the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/3.1 a) “A public body shall respond to a request for records to be used for a commercial purpose within 21 working days after receipt. The response shall (i) provide to the requester an estimate of the time required by the public body to provide the records requested and an estimate of the fees to be charged, which the public body may require the person to pay in full before copying the requested documents, (ii) deny the request pursuant to one or more of the exemptions set out in this Act, (iii) notify the requester that the request is unduly burdensome and extend an opportunity to the requester to attempt to reduce the request to manageable proportions, or (iv) provide the records requested. (b) Unless the records are exempt from disclosure, a public body shall comply with a request within a reasonable period considering the size and complexity of the request, and giving priority to records requested for non-commercial purposes. (c) It is a violation of this Act for a person to knowingly obtain a public record for a commercial purpose without disclosing that it is for a commercial purpose, if requested to do so by the public body.”

The Freedom of Information Act Fees

  The first 50 regular and legal-sized pages are copied free of charge. Additional regular and legal-sized pages will cost $0.15 per page. After the first 50 pages, a postage fee will also be included. The fee must be paid in advance of the request being processed.
  Oversized pages (sewer maps, etc.): $1.00 per page. The first 50 oversized pages are not free of charge.

Payment of fees must be made by check or money order payable to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and sent to the attention of the Treasury Department, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, IL, 60611. Once the payment has been received, the materials will be immediately forwarded to the requestor.

According to 5 ILCS 140/6 (c), “Documents shall be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge, as determined by the public body, if the person requesting the documents states the specific purpose for the request and indicates that a waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest. Waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest if the principal purpose of the request is to access and disseminate information regarding the health, safety and welfare or the legal rights of the general public and is not for the principal purpose of personal or commercial benefit.”

If a waiver or reduction of fees is requested, please do so in writing, explaining why the waiver is requested.