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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

With more than six inches of rain falling on Calumet City and neighboring south suburban communities, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) urges continued collaboration, investment and attention to stormwater management and infrastructure.

Few local sewers have capacity to handle these rain totals and convey this flow to the MWRD’s intercepting sewers and Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) infrastructure. The MWRD’s Thornton Composite Reservoir, which is part of TARP and serves Chicago south of 87th Street and 13 south suburban communities, including Calumet City, was only at 15 percent capacity after the weekend rainstorm. This means that despite the heavy rains, most of the flow was not reaching the reservoir.

“It is imperative that we work together to continue to find ways to improve Cook County local community’s stormwater systems,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “The MWRD works around the clock to manage excess water coming from communities within our 882-square-mile service area. I encourage local officials to reach out to my office to discuss stormwater improvement opportunities with green infrastructure. Together we accomplish more.”

The TARP system continues to maintain capacity and operate as designed. Since becoming operational in 2015, the Thornton Reservoir has captured more than 53 billion gallons of combined sewage. This is water that would otherwise be discharged to the waterways or flood basements.

Through the MWRD’s Stormwater Management Program, the MWRD has partnered or is partnering with several south suburban communities on green infrastructure and other stormwater management projects to help alleviate flooding. The MWRD has also distributed more than 2,000 free rain barrels to Calumet City and Dolton residents.

The MWRD has also worked with these communities through its Watershed Planning Councils, which exist to provide a forum for municipalities to learn about available resources. 

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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