For The Love of Water (FLOW) is a summary of news from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. 

In This Edition:


Upcoming Events

Latest News



Upcoming Events

Board of Commissioners to meet March 2 and 16 


BOC Portrait
Front row, L-R: Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet, President Kari K. Steele, and Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia. Back row, L-R: Commissioner Cam Davis, Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, Commissioner Patricia Theresa Flynn, Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda, Commissioner Yumeka Brown and Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski.


The MWRD Board of Commissioners will hold its Regular Board Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 2 and March 16. Public comments may be made in person at 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, during the Public Comment period.

To view the meetings, visit

Click the "In Progress" link under the Video Column. This link will be active when there is a meeting in session.

Women's History Month Business Workshop "Uplift, Outreach and Engage"  

Womens History Month graphic


For Women’s History Month, the MWRD is hosting an “Uplift, Outreach and Engage” networking and mentoring workshop. Participants will include MWRD Commissioners, staff and businesswomen of distinction from throughout Cook County. More information will be available in the coming days at

Webinar: Basement Flooding: Reducing the Risk on Your Property March 7 at 6 p.m. 




In partnership with the Chicago Bungalow Association, join Holly Sauter, MWRD Principal Civil Engineer, for an exploration of the causes of flooding on your property. Identify things you can do on the inside and outside of your home to help reduce flooding and sewer backups.

Register at 

Monthly MWRD Virtual Tour to be held
Wednesday, March 15 at 2 p.m. 

Virtual Tours


Celebrate St. Patrick's Day a few days early on Wednesday, March 15 with the MWRD by joining us on a virtual tour at 2 p.m.

Go underwater at the world's largest water reclamation facility, explore the Deep Tunnel system, meet the dancing water bear and see electrofishing in action.

Learn about our history and the stories that made us what we are today - a utility for the future.

Register at

Join us for an open house and tour on May 13 and May 20!

Open House flyer


Take a tour of one of our water reclamation plants and watch as we transform wastewater into clean water. We will also have representatives from our Human Resources, Information Technology and other departments available to answer your questions.

Free parking. Please dress for an industrial environment; closed toe shoes and long pants are required. Reservations are not needed.

Learn more at and please call 312-751-6633 with any questions.


Latest News

Celebration of Black History Month sparks discussion on future business opportunities with the MWRD

BHM virtual panel


As Black History Month concludes, the MWRD hopes a month of activities stimulates new conversation and opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion in the work of the MWRD to protect the region’s water environment.

Black History Month at the MWRD culminated with a virtual business roundtable to discuss how community leaders advocate for equity in contracting. The Feb. 22 event introduced contractors and business owners to MWRD procurement services, upcoming work at the MWRD and the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance which ensures fair and equitable contracting opportunities for contractors and consultants. The MWRD has approximately $180 million in contracts this year.

MWRD Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet facilitated the business roundtable with area business leaders, including Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council Director of Diversity Jonathan Jones, African American Contractor’s Association President Omar Shareef and Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Larry Ivory. MWRD staff, including Director of Procurement and Materials Management Darlene A. LoCascio, Director of Engineering Catherine O’Connor and Diversity Administrator Regina Berry discussed upcoming contracts and how to participate in business opportunities with the MWRD. To see a recording of the video, visit the MWRD’s YouTube channel at

Black History Month panel discusses "Environmental Justice and Advocating for Equity"


Black History Month Program


On Feb. 16, the MWRD hosted a Black History Month celebration at the McGowan Main Office Building boardroom, 100 E. Erie St., Chicago.

MWRD Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet moderated a panel to discuss environmental justice issues and how community leaders and others advocate for equity. Presenters included: Alden Loury, Data Projects Editor, WBEZ; Naomi Davis, Founder/CEO, Blacks in Green™; Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director, People for Community Recovery; Greg Kelley, President, SEIU Healthcare; and Pastor Scott Onque’, Policy/Advocacy Director, Faith in Place.

Lolita Thompson, P.E., Principal Civil Engineer, MWRD, Environmental Justice Section, and Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, provided remarks. Illinois Lt Governor Juliana Stratton sent video remarks. Read more at this link and watch the program at


Black History Month kicks off at MWRD with flag raisings

BHM Flag raising


Black History Month Flag  Raising


The fourth annual raising of the Pan-African Flag took place on February 1 at the MWRD’s Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Build­ing at the same time staff at all seven MWRD water reclama­tion plants raised the flag.

The design of the Pan-African flag has special meaning:

  • The red represents the blood of African people shed for liberation.
  • The black represents people of African descent.

The green represents the continent of Africa and all of its natural wealth, the land from which African people descended.

MWRD officials support Village of Dixmoor with water donation

Dixmoor Water Distribution Event
(L-R) MWRD Commissioner Patricia Theresa Flynn, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, MWRD Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet and MWRD Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski.


MWRD staff and commissioners organized a voluntary “Clean Water Fund” initiative and raised more than $2,300 to purchase and distribute water bottles for Dixmoor residents who were forced to boil water and cancel school in the fall of 2022 following bursting pipes and infrastructure challenges.

Although the MWRD manages wastewater and stormwater and does not provide drinking water services, hearing any clean water crisis incited them to reach into their pockets and find a way to help. Standing outside in the single digit temperatures on Feb. 3, MWRD commissioners and staff joined Mayor Fitzgerald Roberts and village trustees to deliver more than 20,000 water bottles to Dixmoor residents. Read the press release at this link.

Dixmoor Water Distribution Event
MWRD Commissioner Yumeka Brown loads a case of water into a vehicle.


MWRD selects 10 projects to mitigate community flooding, improve public spaces




The MWRD selected 10 area green infrastructure installations to support, with an additional 13 projects identified for future consideration. The 10 projects represent a commitment of more than $7.6 million in estimated construction costs to bolster resilient communities throughout Cook County and spread a growing allegiance to green infrastructure initiatives to stem the tide of unpredictable rain patterns.

The annual selection process for the MWRD Green Infrastructure Program this year placed an added emphasis on communities located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIA), which are defined as low-to-moderate income areas that may be more susceptible to flooding. As part of its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, the MWRD has strived to increase its presence in DIAs, while also identifying and eliminating barriers to MWRD participation.

Read more here.

MWRD Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet appointed to U.S. EPA Advisory Committee

Algae processor at Stickney


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has appointed MWRD Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet to serve on a national advisory committee. Vice President Du Buclet is one of 15 members appointed out of a pool of 80 candidates to serve on the EPA’s 34-member Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) responsible for the implementation of many public health and environmental programs that ensure Americans have clean air and water, safe drinking water and environmentally sound waste disposal. Read more here.

How Byproduct From Local Breweries is Helping Clean Our Wastewater


Stockholm Junior Water Prize application



WTTW and WBBM News Radio reported on the importance of our beer waste collection program and the new partnerships we have formed with local breweries. The breweries provide their organic waste to our treatment plants which serves as food for phosphate accumulating organisms, which in turn work to remove organic material from wastewater and help us to recover more phosphorus than normal microorganisms. This allows the breweries and other businesses a unique opportunity to lower their carbon footprints and save on hauling and disposal costs, while also protecting our water environment.

MWRD Career Spotlight video series unveiled 

Screenshot of Career video


The MWRD Office of Public Affairs and Human Resources Department presented a video series titled “MWRD Career Spotlight.” Staff in a variety of job classifications were interviewed to discuss their background and work that they do.

All of the videos can be found on the MWRD YouTube page at:

Model United Nations team from San Juan, Puerto Rico attend MWRD Board meeting

BOC meeting and Model UN team



The MWRD Board of Commissioners recently welcomed a Model United Nations team from Saint John’s School in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The high school students visited the office of Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia and attended the Board meeting to learn about the Board's work providing financial oversight and shaping policies and procedures to help the MWRD protect the regional water environment.

The students, mostly high school seniors, were in town for a Model UN competition at the University of Chicago.

They are anticipating college next year in the United States, so watching a government agency in action offered the students an introductory civics lesson.

BOC meeting and Model UN team with Chairman Garcia


Stockholm Junior Water Prize application period open for high school students until April 15

Stockholm Junior Water Prize application




Applications for high school students to enter the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition, a prestigious water-themed contest sponsored by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), are available and entries are due April 15.

The competition is open to public, private, or independent high school students in grades 9-12 that have reached the age of 15 by Aug. 1, 2023 and have conducted water-related science projects. Judging criteria includes ratings for relevance, methodology, subject knowledge, practical skills, creativity and paper/presentation. The competition relies on established science fair competitions. 

There is also an online submittal opportunity to include students in private schools, home schools, or those who have conducted independent projects. It is not necessary for a student to have had a project in a science fair in order to enter. A national judge's panel consists of 15-20 experts in a variety of disciplines/academia. Learn more here and apply here. Graphic by the Central States Water Environment Association.


Go Easy on the Salt flyer


Go Easy on the Salt flyer

What are Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)?

PFAS Chart


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade fluorinated compounds that are designed to be stable and have been in commercial use since the 1940s. The stability of the chemicals makes them difficult to degrade which is why they are often called “forever chemicals.” PFAS are in countless commercial, consumer, and industrial products and are acknowledged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be widely present in the environment.

Like other water utilities across the U.S., the MWRD is addressing how best to manage PFAS in the water environment. The MWRD’s seven water reclamation plants (WRPs) do not produce nor use PFAS but are passive receivers of these chemicals discharged to local sewers.

Wastewater can contain trace amounts of these chemicals from industrial, commercial and household sources. The MWRD’s WRPs were not designed to remove these chemicals during the treatment process. The use of nonstick cookware, cosmetics and sunscreens, washing clothes, and putting out fires with certain foams can all introduce PFAS into the environment.

The MWRD is closely following and proceeding based on the developing science on the potential impacts of PFAS. The key to pollution prevention is addressing the source of PFAS. The MWRD is working to identify and reduce industrial discharges of PFAS, learning how the discharge from these sources can be reduced and encouraging federal and state regulators to focus on stopping these chemicals at the source. The MWRD’s pretreatment program regulates industrial discharges to protect the treatment process and valuable resources the MWRD recovers. Read the complete fact sheet here.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Household hazardous waste flyer


Dispose of your household chemicals responsibly and recycle your old computers by dropping them off at the City’s permanent Household Chemicals & Computer Recycling Facility at 1150 N. North Branch Street, Chicago (two blocks east of the Kennedy Expressway at Division Street).

Household chemicals and computers often contain hazardous substances, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which can contaminate our air, soil and water. Through proper disposal methods or recycling, these hazardous substances are reprocessed and reused in an environmentally-responsible manner.

The Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility accepts a range of items, including household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computers and related equipment to name a few. It does not accept business/commercial sector wastes, explosives, fireworks or latex paint. 

During business hours, an attendant will be ready to help unload your vehicle and accept your materials. Materials should not be left outside the facility unattended. Scheduled business hours are:

  • Tuesdays 7 am - Noon
  • Thursdays 2 pm - 7 pm
  • The first Saturday of every month 8 am - 3 pm

See which items will be accepted by visiting this link.

MWRD Employment Center

Are you seeking a new career or looking for your first job?

If so, please visit our online employment center at this link to register, apply and learn more about jobs and the selection process at the MWRD. We also enjoy participating in job fairs throughout the county so stop by our table if you are in attendance! 

Click here to enter our Employment Center

Doing Business with the MWRD

Want to learn how to do business with the MWRD? Visit this link to get started. You'll find many resources, including videos presented by our Director of Procurement and Materials Management and Engineering and Diversity Administrator.

The Department of Procurement and Materials Management procures materials and services required for operations in compliance with the Purchasing Act. The mission of the Diversity Section is to ensure that minority owned (MBE), women owned (WBE), small (SBE), and veteran owned (VBE) business enterprises are given equal opportunities to participate in the performance of the MWRD’s construction program and professional service contracts in excess of $100,000.

Our procurement process is designed to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars, so we encourage you to register to become a vendor. Sign up to receive a weekly email listing new contract announcements by emailing

Procurement Brochure


Procurement Brochure Spanish

Report waterway blockages, suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers and odors

There are three ways the public can report waterway blockages, illegal or suspicious dumping to waterways or sewers, or odors. Call 800-332-DUMP (3867) or, in Spanish, 855-323-4801, on our website and through our iOS app

Report an Issue


Report and Issue Spanish


Historical Photo of the Month

Historical Photo


Historical Photo: Construction of a section of the Cal Sag Sewer near 125th in Chicago on August 9, 1921.

March 2023 Calendar

Caption: An American bullfrog in the waters of Addison Creek in Northlake. The MWRD stabilized 750 feet of streambank here to reduce flooding and installed native plants to reduce erosion and provide habitat. The MWRD is improving other Addison Creek Channel areas to mitigate flooding for six local communities.

While supplies last, please contact for a 2023 wall calendar.

Calendar Mar 23