Welcome to the October, 2020 issue of MWRD For The Love of Water (MWRD FLOW), a monthly summary of news and notes from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

In This Issue

  • MWRD in the News
  • Goats and Sheep are baaack - watch the video!
  • Take a Virtual tour on October 14
  • Register for the 8th Annual Sustainability Summit
  • No Wipes Down the Pipes!
  • MWRD Board of Commissioners to meet October 1
  • World Water Monitoring Day
  • Complete the Census!


MWRD In the News


"Fitch Affirms Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, IL GO Bonds at 'AAA': Outlook Stable," Fitch Ratings
"The District's financial profile is strong..."  


"After protecting ourselves: The noticeable increase of littered masks and gloves during COVID-19," North by Northwestern
As the amount of litter has increased during the pandemic, the MWRD skimmer boats routinely look for debris which can get blown off streets or bridges, and sewers can overflow due to rain storms.


Goats and sheep are baaack!


Goats on MWRD property


Following a successful pilot scale operation in 2019, the MWRD again recruited a hard-working herd to graze on vegetation on the grounds of an MWRD facility and maintain landscaping in an environmentally responsible way.

This summer the MWRD enlisted the services of 65 goats and sheep from Vegetation Solutions in Wisconsin to help trim-or eat up-overgrowth and invasive species and maintain the MWRD's native prairie landscaping (NPL) at the MWRD's Calumet Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) on the Far South Side. To check out the work of the herd and learn more about the process, visit the MWRD's YouTube channel.


Take a Virtual Tour on October 14 at 2 p.m.


Virtual Tour images


On Wednesday, October 14 at 2 p.m., join us for our next virtual tour experience. Travel back in time to early Chicago to see how we reversed the Chicago River and developed wastewater treatment technology. Go behind the scenes and under water to see how we transform the water you use everyday. Descend 300 feet into the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan's "Deep Tunnel" system, and watch our electrofishing crew at work sampling fish on the Chicago River. Click here to sign up.


8th Annual Sustainability Summit is set for Oct. 21


Sustainability Summit Invite


You're Invited!

8th Annual Sustainability Summit 2020

Intelligent Conversations for a Better Environment

Wednesday, October 21, 10 a.m. - Noon

Free Registration!


Special video presentation of our EQ Composting operations

Learn the benefits of using sustainable resources like MWRD EQ Compost and EQ Biosolids, green infrastructure, alternative landscaping methods to remove unwanted vegetation, and how you can add sustainable resources into your landscaping projects. Our experts will share their tips, best practices and success stories. You'll even learn how we process our EQ Compost for beneficial reuse. This event is open to the public.

Register online today!

Featured Presentations

Moderated by MWRD Board President Kari K. Steele


Preserving Monarch Butterflies: The Illinois Monarch Project Initiative, Klaudia Kuklinska, Energy Resources Center, University of Illinois at Chicago

Use of Biosolids and Compost for Landscape Management and Vegetation Maintenance, Theresa Johnston, Ph.D., MWRD Senior Environmental Soil Scientist

MWRD Stormwater Management Updates, Paul Jacobs, MWRD Assistant Civil Engineer 

Goats and Sheep as a Landscaping Option, Aruch Poonsapaya, MWRD Maintenance Manager, and Ben Robel, Vegetation Solutions 

Fish in the Chicago Area Waterways, Dustin Gallagher, MWRD Associate Aquatic Biologist, and Austin Happel, Shedd Aquarium Research Biologist

MWRD Sustainable Landscaping and Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Awards

Click here to register for the Sustainability Summit


No Wipes Down the Pipes!

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for household cleaning items, including disinfecting wipes, paper towels and toilet paper which have sometimes been hard to find. As a result, some have turned to alternatives such as "flushable" wipes and other paper products. 

In this educational video, MWRD President Kari K. Steele demonstrates how various products do not break down or dissolve sufficiently in water, and as a result, those materials can clog pipes and cause sewer backups in homes and neighborhoods. Remember, only flush pee, poop and toilet paper! 


No Wipes Down the Pipes video image



MWRDBoardMWRD Board of Commissioners to meet Thurs., October 1


MWRD Board Portrait


Due to Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker's Disaster Declaration and pursuant to Public Act 101-0640, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago will hold its Board of Commissioners' Regular Board Meeting by video conference at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

The MWRD Board Room and building will remain closed to protect the health and safety of the public and staff; only essential personnel will be allowed entry. The public is encouraged to view the proceedings via live stream at Public comment may be made during the public comment period by calling (312) 751-3299, enter Bridge 90500#. Public comment may also be made by submitting an electronic comment by registering under the eComment link during the meeting. Electronic comments will not be read during the meeting. Electronic comments will be distributed to the Board and will be available online.


World Water Monitoring Day Recognized


World Water Day Resolution


Our Board of Commissioners honors World Water Monitoring Day on Sept. 18 each year to raise international awareness for the health of our water resources. In keeping with that tradition to encourage stewardship for our waters, organizers held the 14th Annual Blessing of the Waters in Blue Island at the MWRD's SEPA Station along the Cal-Sag Channel. 

For his long-standing commitment to our water environment and role in the Blessing of the Waters, a resolution was virtually presented to Tom Shepherd, director of Environmental and Recycling for the Village of Robbins. 


Remember to complete the census. Visit


BOC Census Flyer English


BOC Census Flyer Spanish