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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Following heavy rounds of showers in recent weeks, now is the time to consider investing in stormwater management projects and strategic partnerships. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is inviting local government entities to apply for assistance through the MWRD Stormwater Partnership Program now through Jan. 13, 2023.

Two webinars are scheduled for additional information: Thursday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. CST and on Wednesday, December 7 at 1:30 p.m. CST.

Government entities, including municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts and other local government organizations can apply for assistance in addressing local flooding through the MWRD’s Stormwater Partnership Program. 

In addition, the MWRD is also accepting applications for assistance in acquiring flood prone properties. To learn more about both programs, the MWRD recorded an informational webinar on the 2022 programs.

“It is time to come together, collaborate and pursue stormwater management projects that promote resilience in our communities as we battle more intense rains,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “If your community has a project in mind, the MWRD wants to hear from you, so that we can partner, help fund and offer our engineering expertise.”

The MWRD’s Stormwater Partnership Program calls for both conceptual projects and shovel-ready projects. The MWRD welcomes conceptual project submissions from communities that have stormwater problems affecting homes and businesses but lack resources or the capacity to investigate potential solutions. The MWRD can offer technical support through preliminary engineering and identify potential alternatives.

Communities can also submit plans for shovel-ready projects that have already initiated engineering design and identified solutions to address local flooding. If identified as a potential partnership opportunity, the MWRD would serve as a funding partner for construction of the stormwater infrastructure improvements, and it is expected that the applicant will manage the design and construction of the project.

Potential projects vary from the installation of green and gray infrastructure to stormwater storage, storm sewer and culvert upsizing, pump stations and drainage way establishments. Projects must be within the MWRD’s corporate boundaries and be intended to address structure flooding, not nuisance flooding, such as rear-yard or minor street ponding issues. Projects must be designed to manage stormwater through conveyance and/or storage improvements. Elements of green infrastructure may be used but should not be the primary source of stormwater abatement, as projects that are primarily green infrastructure related can be submitted separately for consideration through MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Program. A call for green infrastructure project applications was held over the summer of 2022.

To better leverage these partnerships and create a more widespread impact in combating flooding, the MWRD’s Stormwater Partnership Program is reliant on intergovernmental agreements and cost sharing between MWRD and potential partners. Therefore, the MWRD requests that local governmental agencies determine a level of financial support toward a potential flood control project and include that information in the application. The applicant must also demonstrate a willingness and capability to maintain and operate the completed project in perpetuity.

“As our storms intensify because of climate change, we need to help each other make our communities more resilient against flooding and other public threats,” said MWRD Commissioner and Stormwater Committee Chair Cameron Davis.

The MWRD recently worked with the Village of Mount Prospect and other stakeholders to construct multiple stormwater detention projects to mitigate flooding for residents of Mount Prospect through the Stormwater Partnership Program. To learn more about these projects, visit the MWRD’s YouTube channel.

The MWRD will prioritize the submitted projects based on MWRD’s current budgetary allocation for the programs as well as other factors, including the project’s intended stormwater benefits towards protecting structures from flooding. For more information, including program guidelines, partnership responsibilities, and eligibility requirements, please visit our Stormwater Management page

Communities at this time are also encouraged to consider acquisition of flood-prone properties. The MWRD’s Flood-Prone Property Acquisition Program allows the MWRD and partners to acquire properties faced with repeated flooding challenges on a voluntary basis. The program comes to the aid of homeowners in instances where other measures are not feasible to address overbank flooding along area rivers and streams. Upon acquisition, the structures are removed, and deed restrictions are placed on the acquired properties requiring them to remain as open spaces in perpetuity. To see how the MWRD collaborated with the City of Northlake to acquire flood prone properties, visit the MWRD’s YouTube channel.

In its role as the regional authority for stormwater management in Cook County, the MWRD protects the safety of residents and minimizes flooding damages by coordinating, planning, implementing, financing, and operating regional stormwater management projects and develops and enforces reasonable rules with respect to watershed development. In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly expanded the authorities of the MWRD’s stormwater management legislation to address local drainage and flooding problems, and to acquire flood-prone property from property owners on a voluntary basis.

Stormwater Partnerships_102422.pdf

Press Release

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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