Nearly 600 visitors went behind the scenes recently to see how the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) water reclamation plants (WRPs) operate each day to protect their water environment.

The tours were given at the MWRD’s Calumet, O’Brien and Stickney WRPs to celebrate the MWRD’s 130th anniversary and as part of the annual Infrastructure Week, a national campaign promoting awareness about the impact that infrastructure has on local economies, workers and communities. The campaign encourages visitors to appreciate the critical infrastructure that impacts their lives every day and the continued maintenance required to shield the environment. In accordance with the goals of Infrastructure Week, the MWRD showcased its innovative and resourceful operations to conserve energy and reclaim water.

In addition to hosting tours in which visitors learned how their wastewater was cleaned, MWRD staff performed water quality testing, unveiled historical photos, discussed available jobs, lead an interactive beading activity, and assisted children in coloring water-themed posters.

Visitors also took home supplies of the MWRD’s free EQ Compost as well as free oak tree saplings that are part of the MWRD’s “Restore the Canopy” campaign to replenish the region’s tree population. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office collected electronic waste, paper for shredding and unwanted medication. The WRPs also accept pharmaceuticals daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For those who could not attend the open house tour or would like to schedule another, private tours are held year-round, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants should schedule a tour at least one month in advance. Tour groups can have up to 25 guests and are open to adults and children in seventh grade or higher. For more information on tours and other MWRD projects, please contact the MWRD Office of Public Affairs at (312) 751-6633 or email public.affairs@mwrd.org.

Scenes from the MWRD’s annual open houses at Calumet, O’Brien and Stickney water reclamation plants where hundreds of visitors flocked for tours, free compost and tree saplings.

Open House 2019

Open House 2019

Open House 2019

Open House 2019

Open House 2019

Open House 2019