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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Pre-applications for Conceptual Projects have been temporarily closed to new applicants

How to apply


Review the program requirements

Review the program requirements below to learn about:

Program requirements


Submit a pre-application form and schedule a meeting by December 8, 2023

Pre-Applications Forms are mandatory to apply and must be on file by the deadline above. A tracking number will be assigned to reference your project. The information you submit in your Conceptual Pre-Application will aid our staff in providing feedback on your project and facilitating a Pre-Application Meeting discussion.

Submit a pre-application


Attend a Pre-Application Meeting by December 29, 2023

Our team will review your Pre-Application Form and contact you to schedule a Pre-Application Meeting. The meetings will provide a space to discuss your Pre-Application responses, expand on the information provided, and share feedback for submittal of your Full Application. Pre-Application meetings are mandatory.


Finalize your Full Application by January 28, 2024

Once your Pre-Application Meeting has taken place, applicants will be notified via email to finalize their application. Full Applications are mandatory and must be on file by the deadline above.


The information you provide in the Full Application will confirm and expand on information shared in the Pre-Application and Meeting and include official sign-off from the Applicant accepting ownership of the project if selected. Selected projects will have a study scope developed using information provided in the Pre-Application, Meeting, and Full Application.

Questions: If you have any questions on how to apply to this program or have difficulty with the online form, please contact

Conceptual Projects Webinar

The MWRD has made a pre-recorded webinar available to help you complete your Conceptual Projects application, as well as cover additional details about the program.

About the program

For communities that have stormwater problems affecting homes and businesses but lack resources to investigate potential solutions, requests can be submitted to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) for possible technical assistance in the form of preliminary engineering to investigate the problem and identify potential alternatives.

How Does MWRD Provide Assistance?

Selected conceptual project partners work with the MWRD to develop up to 30 percent design plans on an agreed-upon solution. While the MWRD provides technical assistance needed on the project, the partner is expected to take ownership of the project, its final design, and implementation. At the 30 percent design milestone, the MWRD and partners will discuss the outlook on next steps for implementing the project with the partner taking the lead.


Program requirements


Who can apply?

Public entities that can enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the MWRD. This includes municipalities, townships, and other government organizations.

What projects are eligible?

The proposed project and/or problem areas must be within MWRD's corporate boundaries, or the project must provide stormwater benefits within MWRD's corporate boundaries.

The Applicant must be a public entity able to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the MWRD. Eligible public entities include municipalities, townships, and other local government organizations.

Projects that are currently under construction or currently completed are not eligible for assistance.

Maintenance projects or projects that are due to lack of maintenance are not eligible for assistance.

How Can Assistance Be Used?

  • Development of solutions for documented flooding of residential homes or businesses.
  • Coordination of stormwater management activities across jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Identification of federal and state grant opportunities for the proposed project.

How Are Applications Evaluated?

The MWRD evaluates each application based on specific metrics, which include but are not limited to:

  • Number of flood-prone residential homes and businesses that will benefit from the project,
  • Frequency and severity of flooding documented within and around the flood-prone area,
  • The Applicant's resources, staffing capacity, and ability to maintain and operate a new installation
  • The Applicant's ability to engage the public and other stakeholders in development of a conceptual plan,
  • Economic needs of the community and previous assistance received from the MWRD, and
  • Compliance with federal, state, and local ordinances, including all MWRD ordinances.

Conceptual Project Partnership Guidelines

MWRD will utilize its staff alongside an outside consultant of MWRD’s choosing to study the flooding area and devise an agreed-upon solution.

Selected applicants ("partners") will work actively on the project with the MWRD. These standard guidelines are applicable to all partnerships:

Project Design
During the development of the conceptual project, partners are expected to take an active role in the following:

  • Design decisions (participating in periodic design status updates and providing comments and feedback),
  • Land access or acquisition that may be needed,
  • Submission of any necessary permit applications, and
  • Public engagement of stakeholders within the community.

IGA Partnership
Depending on the outlook of project implementation at the 30 percent design milestone, partners may enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the MWRD in order to complete the project. If an IGA is pursued, the General Cost Share Requirements⧉ would apply. The partner should anticipate utilizing its staff to manage the IGA partnership with MWRD and implementation of the project.

Long Term Operations and Maintenance
Partners are expected to own, operate and maintain any improvement that may be developed from technical assistance provided by MWRD.

If you have any questions regarding this program and how to apply, please contact