The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) continues to monitor the information we are receiving about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The MWRD is following the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). We’re also consulting with local agencies like the Chicago Department of Public Health, international water professionals, and utility and technology partners in the water sector.
To help slow the transmission of COVID-19, MWRD employees not directly involved with performing our critical missions of treating wastewater and managing stormwater have been placed on call and will be telecommuting until further notice. Our wastewater treatment plants will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to protect the health and safety of the residents of Cook County, protect Lake Michigan, and protect businesses and homes from flooding.
Protecting the health and safety of our employees and the public is also a top priority. Thus, effective immediately, all business travel outside of the MWRD’s service area has been suspended until further notice. Additionally, all MWRD educational outreach activities – including facility tours, speaking engagements, and staff participation in fairs and other community events, have also been canceled until further notice. We will continue to post any additional cancellations as we continue to monitor the CDC’s recommendations.
Thank you for your support in our efforts to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. For the latest MWRD news and information regarding the virus, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or join our email list.
Please read our fact sheets for additional information concerning the MWRD’s management and treatment of wastewater.
- Fact Sheet: Sewage surveillance: Detecting COVID-19 (Español) - January 19, 2021
- Fact Sheet: Biosolids and COVID-19 (Español) - May 12, 2020
- Fact Sheet: Managing flood waters during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Español) - April 15, 2020
- Fact Sheet: COVID-19 and the Chicago Region's Water Infrastructure (Español) - March 24, 2020
- Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Español) - March 13, 2020
- Press Release: "It's a toilet, not a trashcan!"
WMO Electronic Permit Application Intake Process
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandate to work remotely, the MWRD now offers an electronic permit application intake process. This system will accept new plan applications and documents. To learn more, click here.
Resources to help minimize the spread of COVID-19
The CDC continues to recommend the following:
- Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use a cloth face cover to help slow the spread of the virus.
- Celebrating the Holidays
Additional COVID-19 News and Information
City of Chicago
- City of Chicago - Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Information
- Chicago Dept of Water Management says tap water is safe to drink, offers additional COVID-19 updates for Chicago resident
- Cook County's Resources and Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Cook County Department of Public Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
State of Illinois
- COVID-19 and Wastewater Town Hall May 18, 2021 - Video Presentation
- Featuring Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike, M.D., Illinois Department of Public Health and Mark Grippo, Ecologist, Argonne National Laboratory
- State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- State of Illinois COVID-19 Press Briefings
- Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Press Briefings
- Illinois Department of Public Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Is it a cold or flu or COVID-19? - Know the Difference (IDPH)
- Social Distancing: What Does it Mean? (IDPH)
- Quarantine Guidance (IDPH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- U.S. EPA
- Water Environment Federation (WEF) Current Priority: Coronavirus
- Blue-Ribbon Panel: Coronavirus Risks Low for Wastewater Workers - August 13, 2020
- Residuals and Biosolids Issues Concerning COVID-19 Virus - May 14, 2020
- Coronavirus and Water Systems; An update and expansion on “The Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19” - May 12, 2020
- What we know about Coronavirus and Water Treatment (WEF) - March 26, 2020
- Illinois Water Environment Association
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
- American Water Works Association (AWWA)
- Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) - COVID-19 Virus: Water, Sanitation and Wastewater Management
Research and News
- "Human Waste Could Be The Next Big Weapon in Controlling COVID-19," Time - June 18, 2021
- "COVID-19 Vaccines: After the Injection. How will your body respond to the vaccine?," Drug Discovery News - June 1, 2021
"Study will examine whether COVID spread can be tracked through the sewer," WBBM Newsradio - December 31, 2020
- "COVID In Chicago: UIC Researchers Say Sewage Testing Can Zero In On Where Virus Is Surging Worst," CBS Chicago - November 17, 2020
- "Research team lands $1.25M grant to monitor Covid-19 outbreaks in Chicago’s sewage," The Business Journals - October 27, 2020
- "MIT Sloan study shows potential long-term environmental effects from COVID-19," PR Newswire - July 9, 2020
- "The Coronavirus Was Detected In Sewage In March Of 2019, Far From Wuhan, China," Forbes - June 26, 2020
- "Sewage could hold the key to stopping new coronavirus outbreaks," CNN - June 1, 2020
- "Sewage may help predict future virus outbreaks. Chicago researchers aim to test hundreds or thousands of manholes at a time,” Chicago Tribune - May 30, 2020
- “How sewer science could ease testing pressure and track COVID-19,”Reuters - May 14, 2020
- "From the Wastewater Drain, Solid Pandemic Data," New York Times - May 7, 2020