Skip to main content

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This is a live view of McCook Reservoir Stage 1, part of the MWRD’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP)

This camera is operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the MWRD’s partner on this project. 

How big is it? 

McCook Reservoir is very large! It is approximately 300 feet deep and the far wall is about half a mile away from the camera. The tunnel (visible only when water is low) is 33 feet in diameter. The area visible here has a capacity of 3.5 billion gallons. The reservoir is part of one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control.

How does it work?

During rainstorms you may see the reservoir filling as the TARP system captures combined sewage that would have otherwise overflowed into rivers. After the storm passes, you may see the water level going back down as the water is pumped to the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant to be cleaned before being released into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. 

What if it fills up?

If the reservoir and tunnels are full and heavy rains continue, sewers will overflow to waterways. 

How many gallons does it hold?

McCook Reservoir is being completed in two stages. Stage 1, the part visible in the live stream camera, was put in operation in 2017 and provides 3.5 billion gallons of storage. An additional 6.5 billion gallons of storage will be available when Stage 2 is completed in 2029 for a total capacity of 10 billion gallons of storage. 

What benefits does it provide?

McCook Reservoir will provide more than $143 million per year in flood damage reduction benefits to 3.1 million people in 37 communities and will help protect the Chicago River, North Shore Channel, Addison Creek and Des Plaines River from combined sewer overflows. 

Communities benefiting from McCook Reservoir

  • Bedford Park
  • Berwyn
  • Broadview
  • Brookfield
  • Chicago
  • Cicero
  • Des Plaines
  • Elmwood Park
  • Evanston
  • Forest Park
  • Forest View
  • Franklin Park
  • Golf
  • Harwood Heights
  • Hometown
  • Kenilworth,
  • La Grange
  • La Grange Park
  • Lincolnwood
  • Lyons
  • Maywood
  • Melrose Park
  • Morton Grove
  • Niles, Norridge
  • North Riverside
  • Oak Park
  • Park Ridge
  • River Forest,
  • River Grove
  • Riverside
  • Schiller Park
  • Skokie
  • Stickney
  • Summit
  • Western Springs
  • Wilmette

Where is it located?

McCook Reservoir is located in Bedford Park along the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55) between the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.