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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

For the Love of Water (FLOW) is the MWRD monthly news summary. 

Upcoming Events


MWRD Board of Commissioners April meeting dates

Board of Commissioners Portrait

The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 4 and Thursday, April 18.

Public comments may be made at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, during the Public Comment period. 

An "In Progress" link under the Video Column will be active when there is a meeting in session. Closed captioning is available.

Watch meeting


MWRD to give presentation in Chicago's 33rd Ward on April 13

MWRD staff will give a presentation to residents of the 33rd Ward on Saturday, April 13 at the invitation of Alderman Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez. The event begins takes place at Theodore Roosevelt High School, 3436 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, Chicago, at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. 

Learn more


Monthly Virtual Tour set for April 16 at 2 p.m. 

Embark on a captivating virtual tour with the MWRD. 

Immerse yourself in the depths of the world's largest water reclamation facility, venture through the intricate Deep Tunnel system, encounter the enchanting dancing water bear, and witness the fascinating process of electrofishing in action. Delve into the rich history that defines us and discover the compelling stories that position us as a forward-thinking utility for the future. Make this an afternoon of exploration, innovation and environmental wonders.

Register for the virtual tour

 

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Ribbon-Cutting on Berry Lane Drainage Improvements Project in Flossmoor set for April 19 at 10 a.m.

The public is invited to participate in a ribbon cutting event for the Berry Lane Drainage Improvements Project in Flossmoor on Friday, April 19 at 10 a.m. 

The MWRD contributed $208,000 towards the installation of the permeable pavers that the Village of Flossmoor installed along Sunset Avenue to Bob O Link Road on Berry Lane. The project is located in an area where the street frequently flooded impacting local residents. About 30,000 square feet of existing asphalt pavement was replaced with permeable pavement, providing 84,500 gallons of design retention capacity. 

Berry Lane in Flossmoor

 

The overall construction cost of the project is estimated at $1,214,334. The project also received funding from IEPA under the Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities Program and from the USACE under the Section 219 Program. In 2023, the American Public Works Association Southwest Branch honored Flossmoor’s Berry Lane Stormwater Improvement project as Project of the Year in the Environmental category for projects under $5 million.


Earth Day Cleanup of Hazel Johnson EJ Way set for Earth Day, April 22

9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The MWRD's Calumet Community Partnership Council is gearing up for a meaningful event to enhance our environment. 

We invite the public to join in a collective effort to beautify the area along Hazel Johnson EJ Way. Let's come together this Earth Day to make a positive impact on our community and the planet!

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own rakes, gloves, and trash bags or:

9th Ward residents can pick up supplies at 13134 S. Vernon, next door to Golden Gate Park

10th Ward residents can pick up supplies at the PCR office located at 13330 S. Corliss Ave.

Clean-up activities will take place along 130th Street, spanning from Ellis Ave. to Michigan Ave., and at the Golden Gate Subdivision. 

For more information and to register, email info@pcrchi.org or call 773-840-4618.

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Monitoring and Research Monthly Seminar set for Friday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m.

"20 Years of Stormwater Management for Cook County” 

 

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On Friday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m., join the MWRD for a one-hour seminar titled “20 Years of Stormwater Management for Cook County” presented by MWRD’s stormwater management staff. This presentation will look back at MWRD’s Stormwater Management Program since its inception in 2004, highlighting the successful implementation of a wide variety of projects and partnerships over the last 20 years and discussing future strategies to mitigate regional and localized flooding.

In person: Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, Lue-Hing R&D Complex, 6001 West Pershing Rd., Cicero, IL. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance by emailing Dr. Heng Zhang at zhangH@mwrd.org or call (708) 588-4264 or (708) 588-4059.

Virtual: Go to Seminars and Presentations on March 27 for the link to access the seminar.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Heng Zhang, Assistant Director of Monitoring and Research, at (708) 588-4264 or (708) 588-4059.

The seminar is eligible for Professional Development Credits/CEUs. 


Chicago Water Week Open Houses set for May 4 and May 11

The MWRD will host an open house and tours in conjunction with Chicago Water Week on Saturday, May 4, and Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The public will have the opportunity to visit the O'Brien Water Reclamation Plant (3500 Howard St., Skokie) on May 4 and Stickney Water Reclamation Plant (6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero) on May 11 without advanced reservations to learn how we are recovering resources and transforming water. 

All ages are welcome, and interactive activities will entertain and educate children and families. After registering at a check-in table, guests will watch a video then tour the plant. Please wear closed-toe shoes. No reservations required. #ChiWaterWeek

Learn more

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Month event set for May 14

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Mia Park

Noon – 1 p.m.
Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building
100 E. Erie Street, Chicago

The MWRD will host Mia Park, a multi-dimensional Korean American artist, for Asian American and Pacific Islander Month on Wednesday, May 14 from noon – 1 p.m. at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago. 

 Mia’s boundless enthusiasm and energy fuel her multiverse of community engagement. She functions as a grassroots eco-system of projects that connect people as a taiji and yoga teacher, actress, producer, and CNA in nursing school.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Month commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Register by May 10, 2024.

Seating is limited and lunch will be provided.

R.S.V.P. 


Lockport Powerhouse Open House and Tours set for
Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

On Saturday, June 8, step back in time to tour the MWRD's historic Lockport Powerhouse and learn how it helped establish the canal to save the Chicago region.

Lockport Powerhouse has been generating hydroelectricity since 1907 and continues operation today with upgraded state-of-the art technology. At the downstream end of the 76-mile Chicago Area Waterway System, Lockport Powerhouse helps maintain water levels and provide drainage for the Chicago area. Join our team of expert guides for an adventure through time, where you'll have a firsthand view of this innovative and majestic facility. There is no parking at the Powerhouse; park then board a free bus at 303 W. 2nd St., Lockport. 

Learn more

 

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Latest News


MWRD Commissioners, staff take the plunge for Special Olympics Chicago

Commissioners at the Special Olympics Polar Plunge
MWRD Team Commish with the Fish (L-R): Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia MWRD Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski, MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa FlynnJohanne Jeudy Andersen, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, Consul General of Denmark Jesper Køks Andersen and MWRD Commissioner Eira Corral Sepúlveda.

The icy waters of Lake Michigan witnessed an extraordinary spectacle on March 3 as thousands of brave souls took the plunge for a cause close to their hearts at the 24th annual Chicago Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics Chicago. Among the participants making waves this year was MWRD team “Commish with the Fish,” demonstrating their commitment to community engagement and charitable giving. MWRD President Kari K. Steele, MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski and Commissioner Eira Corral Sepulveda along with staff volunteered for this iconic event. 

Click to read more


MWRD Celebrates Women’s History Month by Honoring Trailblazers in Chicago

The MWRD celebrated Women’s History Month with a special event held at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building in Chicago. The program honored four outstanding women who have made significant contributions to their respective fields and communities.

Dr. Hernandez addresses audience at Women's History Month Celebration
Women's History Month Honorees 2024

Dr. Claudia Hernandez, associate professor of dermatology and attending physician at Rush University Medical Center and the incoming president of the Chicago Dermatological Society, served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Hernandez’s groundbreaking work in dermatology and commitment to community health has earned her national recognition, making her an inspiration to aspiring medical professionals and a hero to her patients.

In addition to Dr. Hernandez, the MWRD recognized three remarkable women from the sectors of medicine, labor unions, and construction and engineering for their outstanding contributions to their professions and communities:

Picture on the right (L-R)

  • Andrea Kluger, deputy chief of staff and government at the Chicago Federation of Labor. Ms. Kluger's tireless advocacy for workers' rights and her strategic leadership have been instrumental in shaping labor policies and ensuring fair treatment for workers across Chicago.  
  • Dolla Dawson, MBA, chief operating officer and president of business operations at Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc. Ms. Dawson’s leadership and dedication have propelled her company to new heights, setting a precedent for excellence in the engineering and construction industry.
  • Dr. Claudia Hernandez, Associate professor of dermatology and attending physician at Rush University Medical Center.
  • Heather Prendergast, physician-scientist at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Scientists Center. Dr. Prendergast’s groundbreaking research in healthcare and her commitment to advancing medical knowledge have led to significant advancements in patient care and treatment.
Women's History Month Honorees 2024

Watch the video


MWRD commissioners present resolution to Irish Consul General, celebrates Irish American contributions in Chicago

Board of Commissioners celebrate St. Patrick's Day at board meeting

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the Board of Commissioners recognized the consul general of Ireland to the Midwest with a resolution to inspire international collaboration and the luck o’ the Irish. Commissioners presented the resolution to Kevin Byrne, the consul general to the Midwestern U.S. in Chicago. In addition, commissioners presented resolutions to the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Shannon Rovers Irish Bagpipe Band and honored the contributions of Irish Americans and labor leaders John J. Fitzpatrick and Mary G. Harris “Mother” Jones. 

Read more about the event

Shannon Rovers
St. Patrick's Day Queen at board meeting

 


MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos recognized with prestigious awards

Commissioner Spyropoulos receiving Amazing Women of Rich Township award

Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos received the "Amazing Women of Rich Township" accolade from Rich Township Supervisor Calvin Jordan and the Rich Township Board of Trustees. This award honors women who make a difference in the south suburbs. The event took place at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park on March 7.

Commissioner Spyropoulos receiving Women Making History Award

Further highlighting her outstanding achievements and unwavering commitment to empowerment and advocacy, Commissioner Spyropoulos was also presented with the "Women Making History" award by Dr. Annetta Wilson, president, Chicago Midwest Section Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) at the Columbus Park Refectory on March 21.


MWRD OKs additional $15.9 million for Space to Grow program

The MWRD Board of Commissioners has approved a $15.9 million plan to continue a nationally recognized program known as Space to Grow that converts playlots at Chicago Public Schools into sustainable places to play and learn. 

The plan allows the MWRD to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Water Management, Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands. The partners work together to convert schoolyards into beautiful, vibrant and functional community spaces for physical activity, outdoor learning, environmental literacy and engagement with art, while addressing neighborhood flooding. 

Read more about the project

Space to Grow playgrounds

Application period extended to April 15 for MWRD Stickney WRP Community Partnership Council

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The MWRD has launched the Stickney WRP Community Partnership Council (CPC), an initiative born from the strategic vision outlined in the MWRD’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. 

With a focus on community engagement and the pursuit of expanded partnership opportunities, the MWRD is actively seeking applicants to contribute to this vital endeavor.

The application process has been extended to April 15, 2024.

Read more information on how to apply


GFOA awards MWRD with accolades

A consistent record of model fiscal health has again earned the MWRD the highest recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the MWRD with a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2023 budget and Certificates of Achievement of Excellence in Financial Reporting to the MWRD, the MWRD Retirement Fund and MWRD Retiree Health Care Trust for their annual comprehensive financial reports for fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

Watch the video

Read more about the award

GFOA Award

MWRD in the News


“Earth Day and the role of TARP,” Telemundo Chicago

 

Telemundo reporter visits the Stickney plant

Telemundo Chicago Meteorologist Juliet Perdigon Morales delved into the intricacies of water conservation and management during a tour of the MWRD's Mainstream Pumping Station in preparation for an Earth Day feature. Morales aimed to highlight the crucial efforts made by the MWRD to safeguard the water resources that are vital for the ecosystem and the community. Her exploration shed light on the advanced technologies and sustainable practices implemented to treat and manage water efficiently, underlining the importance of such facilities in combating water pollution and ensuring the availability of clean water for future generations. This initiative not only educates the public about the significance of water conservation but also celebrates the innovative approaches being undertaken to protect our planet's most precious resource.

Resources


Sign up for Overflow Action Alert text messages

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Sign up to receive Overflow Action Alert text messages year round. When we announce an Overflow Action Alert, you will be reminded to reduce your use of water before, during and after a storm to help prevent excess water from entering local sewers.

Sign up for alerts


Join Our Team!  

Are you seeking a new career or looking for a new job?

If so, please visit our online employment center at this link to register, apply and learn more about jobs and the selection process at the MWRD. We also participate in job fairs throughout the county so stop by our table if you are in attendance! Staff in a variety of job classifications were interviewed to discuss their background and work that they do. The videos can be found on the MWRD YouTube page.

Employment Center


Purchase low cost MWRD Rain Barrels while supplies last

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The MWRD offers low cost rain barrels in four colors. These 55 gallons barrels are doubly green as they are repurposed. 

Order yours today


Restore the Canopy Program season opens

Complimentary red, pin, bur, black or swamp white oak saplings are available at our water reclamation plants on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon through October. The saplings come in one gallon pots or can be requested as bare roots in bags of 100. These must be planted within a matter of days for premium viability.

If more than 50 potted saplings are desired, delivery is available, or park districts, residents and municipalities can schedule pick ups.

Learn more

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 Read our “Green Neighbor Guide”

Water is one of the most valuable resources on our planet. We require clean and fresh water for drinking, cleaning, recreation and other activities. However, too much of it can become a nuisance when it causes flooding in waterways and urban areas, impacting our travel when roads are flooded and even damaging our homes and businesses.

 

The Green Neighbor Guide

While there are myriad ways to be a Green Neighbor—some actions can be as simple as not over-fertilizing your lawn and garden, washing and maintaining your vehicles properly, or planting a native tree—our Green Neighbor Guide focuses on stormwater management projects that you can build or install on your property. 

The guide provides detailed instructions for disconnecting downspouts; installing rain barrels or cisterns to capture stormwater for reuse; installing dry wells and rain gardens to allow stormwater to filter into the ground; and replacing asphalt and concrete surfaces with permeable paving to reduce stormwater runoff. 

Download guide


What is the key to pollution prevention when it comes to are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)?

The key to pollution prevention is addressing the source of PFAS. 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade fluorinated compounds that are designed to be stable and have been in commercial use since the 1940s. The stability of the chemicals makes them difficult to degrade which is why they are often called “forever chemicals.” PFAS are in countless commercial, consumer, and industrial products and are acknowledged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be widely present in the environment.

Like other water utilities across the U.S., the MWRD is addressing how best to manage PFAS in the water environment. The MWRD’s seven water reclamation plants (WRPs) do not produce nor use PFAS but are passive receivers of these chemicals discharged to local sewers. 

Wastewater can contain trace amounts of these chemicals from industrial, commercial and household sources. The MWRD’s WRPs were not designed to remove these chemicals during the treatment process. The use of nonstick cookware, cosmetics and sunscreens, washing clothes, and putting out fires with certain foams can all introduce PFAS into the environment. 

The MWRD is closely following and proceeding based on the developing science on the potential impacts of PFAS. The key to pollution prevention is addressing the source of PFAS. The MWRD is working to identify and reduce industrial discharges of PFAS, learning how the discharge from these sources can be reduced and encouraging federal and state regulators to focus on stopping these chemicals at the source. The MWRD’s pretreatment program regulates industrial discharges to protect the treatment process and valuable resources the MWRD recovers. 

More PFAS information


Permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Dispose of your household chemicals responsibly and recycle your old computers by dropping them off at the City of Chicago's permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street (two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street).

Household chemicals and computers often contain hazardous substances, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which can contaminate our air, soil, and water. Through proper disposal methods or recycling, these hazardous substances are reprocessed and reused in an environmentally-responsible manner.

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The Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility accepts a range of items, including household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computers, and related equipment, to name a few. It does not accept business/commercial sector wastes, explosives, fireworks or latex paint. 

During business hours, an attendant will help unload your vehicle and accept your materials. Materials should not be left outside the facility unattended. Scheduled business hours are:

  • Tuesdays 7 am - Noon
  • Thursdays 2 pm - 7 pm
  • The first Saturday of every month 8 am - 3 pm

See accepted items


Doing Business with the MWRD

The MWRD procures materials and services required for operations in compliance with the Purchasing Act. The mission of the Diversity Section is to ensure that minority-owned (MBE), women-owned (WBE), small (SBE), and veteran-owned (VBE) business enterprises are given equal opportunities to participate in the performance of the MWRD’s construction program and professional service contracts over $100,000.

Our procurement process is designed to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, so we encourage you to register to become a vendor. Sign up for a weekly email listing new contract announcements by emailing forea@mwrd.org

Get started


Please report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors.

Call 800-332-DUMP (3867) or in Spanish 855-323-4801

Learn more


Tour an MWRD facility

The MWRD is the wastewater treatment and stormwater management agency for Chicago and 128 suburban communities within Cook County, Illinois. We work to mitigate flooding and convert wastewater into valuable resources like clean water, phosphorus, biosolids and natural gas. 

Tour group at Stickney

If you live within our service area, the water that goes down your toilet, sinks and drains eventually comes to us to be cleaned. Nearly 500 billion gallons of wastewater is treated by our seven water reclamation plants every year. The MWRD's total wastewater treatment capacity is over 2.0 billion gallons per day. Learn more about the work of the MWRD on our YouTube channel or schedule a group tour and/or visit us virtually.

Schedule a tour

Extras


Historical Photo of the Month

The Metropolitan Elevated RR bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River

 

The Metropolitan Elevated RR bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River, viewed from the Van Buren Street bridge looking north, on September 23, 1908.


April 2024 Calendar

 

Honeybees enjoy numerous swamp milkweed flowers in Franklin Park rain gardens. This green infrastructure project funded by the MWRD features native plantings of broad-leaved purple coneflower, little bluestem, brown-eyed Susan and the common milkweed across 10.800 square feet of improvements at five locations on Pacific Avenue.

Honeybees enjoy numerous swamp milkweed flowers in Franklin Park rain gardens.
Newsletter
Events

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.

 

For more information:

public.affairs@mwrd.org

312-751-6633