The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District is no longer accepting project applications for partnerships for 2022. Please check back next year for information on the 2023 program.


How to Submit An Application

Applications and all attachments must be submitted via online application (preferred) or by e-mail. 

Online Application:  Submit application online using the online application form found here.

E-mail:  It is strongly preferred that applications be submitted using the online application form above, but if necessary, this fillable PDF form can be submitted to Limit e-mail size (including attachments) to under 50MB. Submit application in one email only if possible, and include a list of all attachments in that e-mail.  Attach files using a filename that is unique to your project, referencing the organization name and/or project title.

Mail:  We are no longer accepting applications by mail unless specifically requested. You may contact to request or ask additional questions.  

Contact for Questions:

Holly Sauter
Principal Civil Engineer
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago



View an Text Box  about the 2022 Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program and information on how to apply




MWRD encourages and supports implementing green infrastructure (GI), which includes a range of engineered installations that store, infiltrate, and/or evaporate stormwater, thereby mimicking the natural water cycle. The MWRD recognizes that GI practices can be effective in reducing wet-weather flows to combined sewer systems, reducing combined sewer overflows to local waterways, and reducing runoff volumes and improving water quality in separate sewer service areas. The MWRD also recognizes the vital role of local government in addressing flooding concerns through the innovative use of GI.

In 2014, the MWRD established the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program to increase the acceptance and investment of GI throughout Cook County. Since that time, the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program has partnered with dozens of agencies to fund GI projects such as rain gardens, bioswales/bioretention areas, permeable pavement systems, and rain water harvesting systems.

Starting in 2017, MWRD has solicited applications from various governmental agencies within its jurisdiction for GI projects on an annual basis.  Since then we have partnered with municipalities, townships, school districts, park districts, and other governmental organizations for over 60 GI projects to help alleviate flooding. These projects will provide over 6.6 million gallons of storage for stormwater runoff for over 3,700 benefiting structures with the use of rain gardens, bioswales, and permeable pavement in parking lots, alleys, and residential streets. MWRD is now currently reaching out to agencies within its boundaries to identify even more GI project opportunities, and we are excited to see what ideas will be proposed.

Click here for a video of the Harwood Heights Green Alley Installation


Program Goals

The MWRD’s goals for the Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program are:

  • Build GI to reduce stormwater flows to local sewer systems and prevent combined sewer overflows;

  • Use GI to address local flooding and draining problems;

  • Promote GI as a complimentary way to manage stormwater with natural systems;

  • Aesthetically enhance public areas and increase a community’s “green space”; and

  • Provide improvements in water quality.


Eligibility Requirements

The following are the eligibility requirements for MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program:

  • Projects must be within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries. Follow this link to confirm. 

  • Projects must be designed to manage stormwater using GI.
  • Projects must be designed to maximize collection of off-site stormwater runoff and infiltrate within the GI installation. Projects capturing off-site stormwater runoff may be given higher consideration. 

  • Applicants must have (or be able to obtain) perpetual ownership or easement over the project site.

  • Applicants will not use funding to satisfy required obligations due to the MWRD’s Watershed Management Ordinance (WMO) or any other local, state, or federal regulations due to public development. Please note that some projects may require a WMO permit due to its own project disturbance, a new sewer, etc. Please refer to our WMO page for additional information on permit requirements.
  • The Applicant must be a public entity able to enter into an IGA with the MWRD. Eligible public entities include municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts, and other local government organizations.

    • Projects will be required to meet MWRD’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) requirements, as well as the MWRD’s Veterans Business Enterprise (VBE) goals.

    • Please see the Cost Share Requirements section below for more information on typical IGA requirements.

  • The Applicant must agree to maintain and operate the completed project for the service life of the installation (typically 20-30 years). All stormwater benefits provided by the project shall be maintained past the stated service life.

  • The Applicant should verify the capability to perform all aspects of the project by each department within their agency or community which will take part in funding, contract administration, maintenance and other requirements of the applicant.

  • All funding should be committed to the project within 6 months of selection, otherwise project may be subject to cancellation. Projects previously selected but cancelled due to lack of funding can be submitted to MWRD in the future when funding is secured.


Evaluation Metrics

Projects are selected based on specific metrics the MWRD will evaluate for each project. These metrics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Design Retention Capacity (DRC) – The amount of stormwater (in gallons) that can be captured and infiltrated by a green installation;

  • Benefitted Structures – The number of structures (homes, businesses, etc.) that will experience positive effects on stormwater runoff due to the project. Positive effects on a structure may include a reduction in flooding or drainage issues. Note that auxiliary buildings such as residential garages, sheds, or other uninhabited structures should not be counted;

  • Impervious Area/ Drainage Area – The area in square feet (or acres) that will drain to the proposed GI installation, the square footage of impervious surface removed by the project, and the total area of impervious surfaces that will be converted to permeable surfaces. Please account for any impervious areas that can be directed to the GI installation through overland flow or any piped connections when estimating the drainage area;

  • Sewer Service Area – Combined sewers or separate stormwater and wastewater sewers;

  • Flood Prone Areas – Areas that exhibit documented drainage or flooding issues locally. Includes overland or basement flooding issues;

  • Cost Share Funding – The funding amount requested of the MWRD and the amount of funding an Applicant can provide towards a project. Includes the ability of an Applicant to fund capital improvements and available sources of funding (such as grants);

  • Operations and Maintenance – The Applicant’s ability to maintain the installed GI. Includes previous experience maintaining GI, availability of labor & equipment, and understanding of financial commitment;

  • Public Visibility and Outreach – The ability to promote the project to the community. Considers the visibility of the project, community involvement, and educational outreach to local residents before, during and after construction;

  • Existing MWRD Stormwater Development – The amount MWRD has previously contributed to improving a community’s and/or watershed’s stormwater management, including past year’s GI program partnerships; and

  • Current Project Status – The current status of the project. The categories include: Conceptual, Design, and Shovel Ready.

* The MWRD may also consider whether applicants are in compliance with all MWRD ordinances  (for example; WMO and Inflow & Infiltration Control Program) when prioritizing projects for funding assistance.


Cost Share Funding

MWRD funding for selected projects is in the form of reimbursement of construction related costs only. The amount of funding the MWRD provides to selected projects is based on the effectiveness of the proposed GI, the needs of the community, and availability of funding. Selected applicants are responsible for all remaining costs associated with the project. This includes: engineering, land acquisition, operations, maintenance, and other non-construction related costs.

Additional funding rules and requirements include:

  • Funds may not be used retroactively for projects already under construction.

  • Payment requests are submitted via an IGA Reimbursement Form by the selected applicants at specific construction completion milestones.

  • Supplemental documentation such as a schedule of values indicating work completed, payroll sheets, lien waivers, and proof of payment to vendors and subcontractors (such as cancelled checks) are required for reimbursement.

  • Selected project partners are required to meet minimum affirmative action goals as set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance. These goals shall be met for any portion of the project funded by the MWRD. Please refer to item 4) below, under General Cost Share Requirements, for more detail and for a link to the District’s Affirmative Action Ordinance.


General Cost Share Requirements

IGAs will be drafted specifically for each GI project and the MWRD has several requirements applicable to all projects. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, please be advised that the following requirements will likely be included in every IGA for a GI project:

1)   Selected Applicant Design, Contract Administration, and Construction Administration

The MWRD requires selected applicants to provide project design, contract administration, and construction administration. This includes: preliminary and final design, finalizing bidding documents, bidding and awarding contracts, and construction management.

Selected applicants will also be responsible for:

  • Obtaining all permits required for the construction of the project;

  • Providing the MWRD preliminary and final construction documents to the MWRD for review;

  • Installing signage that promotes green stormwater infrastructure and the MWRD’s funding; and

  • Submitting as-built drawings to the MWRD after construction.

2)   Competitive Bidding

The MWRD requires selected applicants to follow the District’s Purchasing Act, 70 ILCS 2605/11.1 et seq. The Purchasing Act requires projects to be publicly bid and establishes minimum guidelines to ensure the bidding process is conducted fairly. Among other requirements, the Purchasing Act sets minimums for bid advertisement and review periods, contract award criteria, contract bonds, and it also establishes protections against bid fraud or collusion. While a selected applicant can utilize its own processes, the MWRD requires selected applicants to certify that the minimum standards of the District’s Purchasing Act are met.

For more information, refer to the District's Purchasing Act here.

3)   Multi Project Labor Agreement (MPLA) Requirement & Prevailing Wage

The MWRD values tradespeople and union members. For this reason, the MWRD has entered into a MPLA with 20 different labor unions. Selected applicants must ensure any contractors who perform work in any of the covered trades follow the terms of the MPLA for the portion of projects receiving MWRD funding. Finally and as required by state law, selected applicants must also ensure that the Prevailing Wage Act is also followed.

For more information, refer to the MPLA and Labor Relations here.

4)   Affirmative Action

The MWRD requires that the minimum goals set forth in the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance are met for the portion of the project funded by the MWRD. Failure to comply with the affirmative action requirements may result in a reduction in the amount the MWRD reimburses. In general, the MWRD’s affirmative action requirements are:

  • 20% Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE)

  • 10% Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE)

  • 10% Small Business Enterprises (SBE)

  • 3% Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VBE)

Prior to beginning construction, the MWRD requires selected applicants to submit a utilization plan identifying the MBE/WBE/SBE contractors’ participation and certifying their qualifying status.

To help selected applicants stay on track to meet those goals, the MWRD requires affirmative action status reports, lien wavers, and proof of payment (such as cancelled checks) be submitted with their reimbursement requests.

For more information, refer to the MWRD Affirmative Action Ordinance here and the MWRD Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Contracting Policy Requirements here.

5)   Ownership

Selected applicants are required to obtain all property rights necessary to complete a project. The selected applicants will have complete ownership over all improvements made during and after the project. The MWRD will not accept any ownership or property interest in any part of the project or improvements.

6)   Indemnification

Selected applicants will be required to indemnify the MWRD for any and all claims arising from the design, construction, maintenance, operation or ownership of the project and any related GI installation.

7)   Operations & Maintenance

Regular upkeep and maintenance is necessary for GI to function properly and provide the expected stormwater benefit. For that reason, selected applicants are required to provide routine maintenance as dictated by an operations and maintenance (O&M) plan jointly developed and agreed upon by the selected applicant and the MWRD. The O&M plan must establish guidelines for inspecting, reporting, and maintaining the GI installed. Selected applicants will be responsible for all costs associated with operating and maintaining the project in accordance with the O&M plan.

Additional O&M rules and requirements include:

  • The selected applicant is required to perform annual inspections and prepare an inspection report for review by the MWRD. Inspection reports must be reviewed and signed/stamped by a professional engineer licensed by the State of Illinois or by an industry professional approved by the MWRD.

  • The MWRD will be allowed access to the project site to perform its own inspection.

For more information, refer to the following sample O&M templates: Bioswales & Rain Gardens or Permeable Pavement.

8)   MWRD Composted Biosolids

Since 2015, the MWRD has provided composted biosolids throughout the Chicago area. The compost can be used as a soil amendment or conditioner for establishing native landscaping or for mixing into custom topsoil blends.

To the extent practicable, the selected project partner shall use MWRDGC biosolids in any amendments performed to the soils in the proposed Project area if selected. These biosolids will be made available free of charge and more information will be provided for those selected project partners.



Reference Documents

Below are links to all the documents referenced in the above program guidelines: